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Not Asking For Frugality, But Shouldn’t It Be Fiscally Prudent?

The Arlington County Board approved a FY 2008 budget yesterday, and although there was no increase in the real estate tax rate, the Board approved a utility tax that along with other subsidies and fee increases will significantly reach into taxpayers’ pockets. As Bob Atkins has observed, it represents “Arlington’s version of Robin Hood, which is to steal more from the rich so that you can steal less from the poor.”

Kirstin Downey of the Washington Post summarized it nicely, saying:

“The Arlington County Board unanimously adopted an $888.5 million (general fund) budget yesterday for fiscal 2008, up 7.2 percent from the budget approved for 2007, allowing it to boost school spending, restore human services that had been cut, broaden its environmental initiatives and give employees a raise.”

And Scott McCaffrey of the Arlington Sun-Gazette (budget and employee COLA) wrote this about one member’s reaction to the fact that Arlington’s budget has grown to more than $1 billion:

““My goodness!” marveled County Board member Barbara Favola, as she tallied up the various components of the budget and noted the record-breaking result prior to the vote Saturday. Whether her exclamation was in awe, enthusiasm or fear was left to those watching the proceedings to ponder.”

Since the "devil is in the details," see what the County Board has wrought and check out agenda items 32.A through 32.U., which relate to FY 2008 taxing-and-spending. And, if you want to know how the Board tried to spin it all, here’s yesterday’s press release. And remember that 7.2% year-to-year increase since inflation is currently less than half that number! That's neither frugal nor prudent, but rather profligate.

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