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Giving New Meaning to Care and Compassion

At its March 17 meeting, the Arlington County Board approved advertising a property (includes cars) tax rate that will define the method of allocating the state’s tax relief provided to Arlington County. The details are provided in the Manager’s report (agenda item 21.F.), but included proposing:

“that 100% of the tax liability for clean fuel vehicles be paid with the State money for assessed value below $20,000. This would provide a maximum subsidy of $1,000 to clean fuel vehicles and be $567 tax savings for clean fuel vehicles valued more than $20,000.”

Let me get this straight. When half of Arlington households with money incomes of less than $60,000, or the 20% with money incomes below $20,000, are eating at McDonald’s for the week’s big treat, the meals tax they pay is going to subsidize the car taxes of the $42,500 (MSRP) Lexus RX 400 hybrid because the Arlington County Board imagines that the emissions of ordinary fuel vehicles are the cause of global warming. And the Board thinks they are caring and compassionate?

Even before this example of caring and compassion for Lexus hybrids, however, there was evidence of the Arlington County Board’s lack of caring and compassion for those of lower income. Each year, the Chief Financial Officer of the District of Columbia is mandated by D.C. Code 47-817 to measure the tax burden of families with incomes of $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, and $150,000. The 2005 report of Tax Rates and Tax Burdens for the Washington Metropolitan Area, issued August 2006, which is the latest available, shows in Table 2 that for families of three with incomes of $25,000, Arlington ranks second among the six jurisdictions measured. On the other hand, for each of the other income levels, Arlington County ranks lowest among the six (D.C., Alexandria, and Montgomery, Prince George’s, Arlington and Fairfax counties).

So the County Board is caring and compassionate, eh?

UPDATE 4/2/07: My apologies for misspelling "threat." It should be treat, and I've corrected it.


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