The recent announcement of a possible property tax increase at the February 14 Board of County Supervisors meeting wasn’t exactly embraced by the community. Immediately, complaints about higher taxes began to be voiced by the majority of residents in Prince William County, yet those complaints were heard while the chambers were filled with teachers protesting they are underpaid for the number of hours they work.
The work of the county budget process is a mystery to most people. We generally follow the idea that a tax increase is bad, lower taxes are good, and ne’er the twain shall meet.
That kind of logic has been a source of misery for the state, too. Virginia gas tax is ten cents lower than the national average and hasn’t changed since the 1980s. We complain about the condition of the roads and the traffic, but we also believe gas prices are already too high.
We think all our taxes are too high, and while I agree it is a pity we work for the first four months of the year just to pay our taxes, Virginia is not so bad compared to the rest of the United States. Virginia taxes have actually declined by .07 percent since 1977. That’s right, adjusted for inflation, we pay less tax in Virginia than we did 35 years ago!
There are a lot of other facts about where Virginia ranks tax-wise on that page, and while it may not make you feel better about your tax burden, at least take comfort we are about the middle of the pack. Somehow that makes me feel better that I don’t live in Hawaii. Beautiful state and ideal climate, but I would pay a lot more taxes on my $400,000.00 salary!
One fact I want to note for Patch readers: The proposed property tax increase will result in an average $111.00 per year. That’s less than one dollar a day for 34 new county employees, twelve of whom will be police officers and two arson investigators. It also includes assistance to some non-profits, and county partners like the Americans in Wartime Museum and it also includes funding for a satellite office of Economic Development in the Eastern District.
I know a lot of people are opposed to contributions to the museum. Since we were told the museum would not cost the taxpayers money, but would be an asset, I expect some sort of repayment once the museum is operable would be part of the plan. It’s also possible the museum will be required to contract an MOU (memorandum of understanding) with the county like we require all our other partner non-profits.
You can find more about the county budget on the county government website.