While Chairman Corey Stewart is trying to keep your taxes low in the midst of a national taxpayer pocketbook feeding frenzy, there apparently are some out there who want to ensure that local government will demand more of your wealth at the same time we’re in the midst of an economic downturn. Some supervisors apparently think it might not be a bad idea to forgo a tax cut so government can spend more of your dwindling income. Let’s make sure these few usual suspects understand they’re not actually entitled to what’s in your pocket.
From an email from Corey Stewart:
The Prince William Board of County Supervisors will vote this Tuesday March 3 on advertising a property tax rate. I am proposing a rate that will reduce tax bills for homeowners by an average of $548.00 (a 16 % reduction). I want to thank Supervisors Maureen Caddigan (Dumfries), Wally Covington (Brentsville) and John Stirrup (Gainesville) for joining me in supporting this tax relief.
This tax rate of $1.198 will support the County Executive’s proposed budget, which reduces government spending by $56 million compared to last fiscal year without cutting any of our uniformed police or fire and rescue personnel. The County Executive’s budget is responsible and sustainable. By focusing our resources, it allows us to protect vital county services while providing tax relief to you during these uncertain times.
To pass this tax reduction, we need at least five supervisors to vote this Tuesday in support of the $1.198 tax rate. Please email the Board at BOCS@pwcgov.org urging the whole Board to join Supervisors Stirrup, Covington, Caddigan and myself in supporting this rate and ensuring tax relief for you.
Please be sure to tune into Comcast Channel 23 or Verizon FIOS Channel 37 to see how your supervisor votes.
PWCRC Chairman Lyle Beefelt had this to say as well:
My Fellow PWC Republicans,You are, of course, aware that the current economic crisis has had a significant impact on Prince William County. Unemployment, while not as bad as some parts of the country, is up. Furthermore, Prince William has been among the hardest hit counties with respect to home foreclosures, and residential real estate values have fallen dramatically.
With this sobering economic backdrop, the Board of County Supervisors is working to put together next year’s budget. The #1 determining factor in the County budget is the real estate tax rate, which is set to be advertised next week. Both residents and businesses pay the same rate and, once advertised, the final rate cannot go higher.
There are two competing proposals currently being suggested. A rate of $1.198 is suggested by Chairman Stewart and is, so far, endorsed by three other Republicans on the Board (Caddigan, Covington, and Stirrup). Supervisor Jenkins (D-Neabsco) has suggested $1.295.
There are a number of reasons why it is better to go with the lower rate and to decide this question now.
First, the lower rate will cut the average residential tax bill be nearly $550. This means that millions of dollars that would otherwise go to taxes can be spent on family or business expenses, new investments or to pay down debt. All three are important to the long-term health of the local economy.
Second, while both rates mean higher taxes on businesses, the higher rate could mean tax increases of from 10% to 30% on area businesses at a time when businesses are already suffering.
Thirdly, making that decision now ends the uncertainty and sends a clear message about the Boards objective: protect the taxpayer, support local businesses, and improve the long-term fiscal health of the County. Advertising a higher rate will only encourage putting off budget cuts that, in the end, must be made.
Nobody is saying that the budget cuts will not be painful. School class sizes will be essentially at the state limit. Nearly everyone will see some service they are used to cut. It is a true belt tightening. However, not tightening our belts during these times would be truly irresponsible. It would be hampering our long-term prosperity to enjoy more government services now. Nor is it helpful to dangle a potentially higher tax rate before interest groups and agencies that are having trouble adjusting their expectations. It is far better to settle that question now – this Tuesday.
I encourage all Republicans to let their feeling be known on this issue in a civil and responsible manner that doesn’t resort to personal attacks. The email address for the Board of County Supervisors is BOCS@pwcgov.org.
Chairman, PWC Republican Committee
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