-- Tom Cranmer, FCTA VP, February 6, 2017
Real estate taxes are likely to increase 12% next year. The table below provides the information and calculation. Two major new items: Fairfax Co. will have to spend an additional $93 million on subsidizing the Metro; and the loss of $50 million of Federal funding because Fairfax Co. is a Sanctuary County harboring illegal aliens. And the schools want $134 million more than they can get right now.
Fairfax tax rate increases have exceeded the inflation rate and private sector wage rate increases by three times for the past decade. County employees wages and benefits exceed private sector wages and benefits. The schools say school enrollment has been increasing, but refuse to divulge the number of illegal immigrants and refugees. The number of children eligible for subsidized school lunches and English-as-a-second-language has increased dramatically. The average income in the County is decreasing, as middle class families more out and poorer people move in.
On November 30, 2016 the Fairfax Board of Supervisors (BOS) set up a Joint Budget Workgroup with several school board members. A "work plan" was presented to the BOS and County staff on January 31, 2017. The two-hour presentation after two months of study had no dollar numbers and basically consisted of saying that the officials are talking to each other. They said they are looking at ways to share buildings and information technology facilities. The first step of any substance will be on May 5, 2017, but the target for final recommendations is in 2018, well past the budget decisions for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 that begins this July.
The County Executive releases his FY 2018-19 Budget Plan on February 14, 2017. The FY 2018 tax rate would be publicised on February 28, 2017. Public hearings will be held April 4-6 in Government Center (the Taj Mahal). The BOS would adopt the FY 2018 Budget Plan, tax rates and the amount to be allocated to the schools (FCPS) on May 2, 2017.
A major budget battle is likely with well publicized demands for increased spending on favorite programs including schools. Unless taxpayers speak out and write about the burden additional taxes cause, tax rate increases are likely to continue along past patterns.
Best wishes for bringing sanity to Fairfax Co.
|Schools||$134M||$134M||Co./FCPS Bottom Line Forecast: Operating=$40M; Capital=$13M; Debt Service=$13M; Step/scale incr= $95M, savings=$25M|
|Unfunded school||FCPS has identified but not quantified.|
|Metro||$93M||Northern VA Transportation Commission|
|County||$90M||$90M||Employee benefits=$8M; Employee pay=$21M; Prior commitments=$10M; Other board priorities=$41M|
|Federal defunding||$50M||2/3rds of Fed funding; sanctuary penalty.|
|Optional County||$28M||Public safety=$19M; Capital=$6M; IT=$3M|
|Co. Debt Service||$9M||$9M||Fairfax Co. estimate|
|State Budget Cuts||$5M||$5M||Fairfax Co. estimate|
|Drinking water fees||Water districts?|
|Automatic Co. Revenue||-$74M||Real Estate prices taxes up 1.6%; Home prices up only 0.4%; Commercial property up 1.25%|
|School Revenue||-$26M||Sales Tax=$6M; State Aid=$19M; Other=$1M|
|Net Add'l Required||$309M||Higher Taxes and budget cuts needed!|
|(One penny RE tax revenue)||$23.3M||Co. rule-of-thumb revenue per penny real estate tax|
|(Add'l pennies tax increase)||13.262||Net add'l tax rate required / $23.3 million|
|(Current RE tax rate/$100)||$1.13||From Co. budget tax rate per $100 valuation|
|Pct increase tax needed||11.74%||Add'l tax rate increase / Current RE tax rate|