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County Board Votes to Advertise Same Real Estate Tax Rate

That’s the good news for Arlington taxpayers. The bad news is the effective tax rate for all real estate in the county (calculated by the county, by the way) will increase by 4.60%, more than current inflation. Fortunately for the average residential homeowner, they will see no increase in their tax bills. Rather, the increase comes entirely from commercial real estate this year.

The vote to advertise the same rate means the Board cannot approve a higher real estate tax rate when it votes on the FY 2008 budget in April, but could approve a lower rate. It is still important to communicate with the Board since there are other taxes and fees, which the Board plans to increase, including a couple of new ones for Arlington taxpayers.

Scott McCaffrey of the Arlington Sun-Gazette deserves a laurel for getting four stories posted by mid-afternoon concerning the Board’s discussions to advertise public hearings on several of the tax decisions, including the real estate tax rate, the car tax, the utility tax, and parking meters.

Before the Board began deliberating on advertising the various taxes and fees, the County Attorney provided them an option to advertise them en banc or to vote to advertise them individually (they were listed as agenda item 21.A. through 21.P.). What should have lasted no more than 30 seconds went on interminably, perhaps for as long as a half-hour with each Board member whining about one thing or another. One Board member even promised the others to provide them, and the Manager, an economics lecture on tax progressivity at some later date. Of course, if there had been just the “single” vote, there would not be those four stories now posted online, and will be in next Thursday weekly edition. Are Board members onto something?

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