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Civic Federation Sends 'Tax Cut' Resolution to County Board

At their monthly meeting last night, Arlington County Civic Federation delegates adopted a resolution proposed by a member of the Revenues & Expenditures Committee calling on the Arlington County Board to cut the real estate tax rate by 3-cents or more when the Board adopts the FY 2015 budget on April 22, 2014.

The Arlington Sun Gazette's Scott McCaffrey reports on the give-and-take at  the Civic Federation meeting in a report this morning at InsideNova.com, the Sun Gazette's new website. Here are the first few paragraph:

"Saying the county government has enough cash on hand to absorb it without impacting services, delegates to the Arlington County Civic Federation on April 1 voted to recommend a 3-cent-or-more cut in the real estate tax rate for 2014.

"The 23-11 vote called for reducing last year’s tax rate of $1.006 per $100 assessed valuation to 97.6 cents or lower.

"Even if the lower rate is adopted by the County Board, which appears unlikely, a typical household would see its real estate tax bill rise nearly $90 from a year before; if there is no change to the tax rate, it would rise more than $280.

"Supporters of the cut say the county government is accumulating cash that it doesn’t need, and can fully fund its billion-dollar budget while still giving tax relief to property owners.

“We just have to convey a message [to the government]: ‘Rein it in a little bit,’” said Larry Mayer, a former Civic Federation president whose Lyon Park neighborhood has seen double-digit assessment increases, which even with a cut in the tax rate will result in higher tax bills."

McCaffrey also reported this interesting exchange:

"The average real estate tax bill for Arlington homeowners is already the highest in the region, and if costs continue to rise, “we’re all going to be moving somewhere,” Bostwick said.

"Pish-posh, countered delegate Kathryn Scruggs of the Alliance for Housing Solutions. She said the county’s location has made it a sought-after address, and residents are not fretting over a few extra tax dollars.

“There’s plenty of people who want to come here and pay the taxes,” she said."

The R&E committee's report on the resolution was concise and authoritative (read it here). Attachment 1 was a graphic from a Washington Post March 12, 2014 Metro section article by Antonio Olivo and Patricia Sullivan. Labelled "Tax bills climb with home values," (see larger version of graphic here) and powerfully refutes the mantra Arlington County taxpayers constantly hear from County Board members about Arlington County having the region's lowest real estate tax rate. Attachment 2 of R&E's report is here.

Kudos to Washington Post reporters Patricia Sulliivan and Antonio Olivo for including the graphic with their reporting on Northern Virginia property values and tax bills.

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