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Growth in Arlington County Board's Slush Fund?

The online Arlington Sun Gazette reported this morning that "(s)ales-tax revenue distributed from the state government to Arlington in the fiscal year ending in June was up 4.7 percent over a year before, and exceeded both the county government’s budgeted amount and projections of the county treasurer’s office." The news item went on to say:

"A total of $38,630,486 was distributed to Arlington based on retail sales recorded in the county in fiscal 2012, according to figures from Treasurer Frank O’Leary. That’s up from $36,889,895 transmitted from the state to the county government in fiscal 2011.

"County officials had budgeted for $36,850,000 during the fiscal year, while O’Leary had anticipated $38,054,135 in revenue.

"O’Leary said the amount of retail sales in the county during the fiscal year was something the community should applaud.

“Arlington’s businesses have once again proven their stability and worth to our community,” he told the Sun Gazette. “They can be rightfully proud of their success.”

Let's do the math: $38.6 million collected minus $36.85 budgeted means the County Board potentially has an additional $1.78 million to spend for "one-time expenditures" later this year. And while the Treasurer is correct that taxpayers should "be rightfully proud" of the success of "Arlington's businesses," Mr. O'Leary's comments sound far too statist. Rather than producing more tax revenue for local government, our political leaders should be concerned with greater freedom, liberty, and prosperity.

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