Arlington County: More Government by Government for Government
One of many benefits enjoyed by county employees, and public school employees, also, is something called the Live Where You Work grant. They were concocted several years to entice employees to live in the county. They are pegged at 1% of the average residential assessment, and will be increased on July 1 from $4,500 in FY 2006 to $5,400 for FY 2007. Initially, they were to help "defray the cost of purchasing a primary residence," but in FY 2007 renters can receive a grant up to $500. Arlington was authorized by the 2002 Virginia General Assembly to pay the grants. We didn’t like them then (see cartoons on pages 5 and 6 of ACTA’s March 2003 newsletter), and still don’t.
The grants assume some measure of value to Arlington citizens of having county employees living here. We were reminded how tenuous that value may be when we saw the 2006 version of PROFILE, an annual county publication. The graphics on page 6 show how mobile residents of the region really are. For example, 648 Arlington residents work in Prince William County while 10,108 residents of PWC work in Arlington County. Or, 42,263 Arlington residents work in the District of Columbia while 12,164 District residents work in Arlington County. So, if more Arlington residents work in DC than in Arlington and Arlington residents working here are outnumbered by Fairfax County residents working here ..... and Arlington is such a small part of the metro area, could the subsidy make sense? So for county government to squeeze a few more dollars from Arlington taxpayers to provide county employees another “perk” seems highly questionable at best.