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Kudos to Arlington Connection Reporter

Congratulations to Arlington Connection reporter Michael Lee Pope for his story on county spending in the June 23-29, 2010 issue of the Connection. Of special note is that his source for the article is the Virginia Auditor of Public Account’s “Comparative Report of Local Government Revenues and Expenditures.” To the best of our knowledge, it is the first time that we know of that the data in the Virginia APA's “comparative report” is the primary focus for a news report on local government spending.

Although the story’s title suggests the story involves welfare story, that is not the case. Rather, the story revolves around the below graph from the story, which shows whether Alexandria, Arlington, or Fairfax County spends more per capita for the various categories of local government. The graph below does not provide the dollar amounts spent, but does indicate the relative spending for each category. Pope explains the differences this way:

“Because Fairfax County enjoys a considerable economy of scale in terms of population, its per capita spending levels tend to be smaller than mid-size communities such as Arlington and Alexandria. And while Arlington and Alexandria tend to be similar in size and demographics, spending priorities between the two Northern Virginia comminutes highlight differences. For example, Arlington spends more on firefighters while Alexandria spends more on police.”


The dollar amounts for each category are available at the Commonwealth of Virginia’s Auditor of Public Account’s website for the “Comparative Report of Local Government Revenues and Expenditures.” You can obtain a larger version of the graph by using the link to the Arlington Connection at the top to access the story.

Once again, congratulations to Michael Lee Pope of the Arlington Connection.


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