Arlington County Taxes Heading Upward

Comments at Arlington Tax Rate Hearing, April 8, 2021.

I’m running for County Board again because Arlington taxes are slated to go up again even as tax rates are going down elsewhere in Northern Virginia:

The impetus for tax rate reductions elsewhere in Northern Virginia is to provide relief to homeowners hit by rising assessments, even as the pandemic has put a lot of them out of work.

Despite its social justice rhetoric, Arlington has shown no inclination to follow its neighbors’ lead in cutting taxes.

According to the County Manager’s proposed budget, residential real estate taxes are slated to go up by 6 percent or an average of $420 per year due to rising assessments and a storm water tax rate increase of 38%, pp. 114, 116. That’s remarkable even in a county where the average annual effective real estate tax rate increase (4 percent) has been more than twice the rate of inflation (1.7 percent) for the past ten years.

The County will tell you that it can’t afford to reduce the real estate tax rate because the pandemic has drained tax revenue from the commercial sector. But where were your real estate taxes heading when the County was flush with tax revenue from leading corporate tenants? They were going up at more than twice the rate of inflation.

Let’s face it, Virginia. Arlington County Board’s policy on real estate tax rate increases is simple. It’s whatever the market will bear. If that doesn’t suit you, then up and out. So much for “equity, diversity and inclusion.”