Proposed Fairfax County budget calls for a 6% increase in real estate taxes

Fairfax County homeowners will be looking at a 6% increase in taxes if the budget presented by County Executive Ed Long is approved. The $7.45 billion dollar budget calls for spending to increase 4.47% with a $1.88 billion transfer to schools.  The proposed budget would result in a 6% increase in real estate taxes – a 26% increase over the last five years.

Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) thinks that’s too much, while school board chair Pat Hynes says the budget represents a “crushing blow” to the school system.

“Another 6% increase in taxes for a combined total of 26% over the last five years is unacceptable. It is past time to make tough decisions,” Herrity said in a prepared statement.

Hynes said she was “dismayed that Fairfax County Executive Ed Long has ignored the pleas of parents, students, employees, and community members to fully fund Fairfax County Public Schools’ budget in FY 2017.”

No surprise

“Today’s budget should come as no surprise, the County Executive has been forecasting it for some time,” Herrity said. “Ten months ago I asked the board to invest additional time over the summer and fall to address potential efficiencies, restructuring, pensions and other ideas to prevent us from once again having to balance the budget on the backs of our taxpayers and employees. That request was defeated on a 7-3 party line vote. Now we have less than two months to address the spending increases or our taxpayers will bear the brunt again.”

But Hynes said that despite calling for a tax increase, Long’s budget “signals no increase to the schools above last year’s budget guidance of 3% while increasing the county’s budget by a greater percentage.  This is a crushing blow to the more than 185,000 students who depend on the schools to help shape their future and to the teachers who have experienced year after year of little or no salary increases, often having to shoulder the added expenses of health care and retirement increases.” 

“FCPS excellence cannot be maintained by continued budget cuts. This decision will have far-reaching consequences, affecting more than FCPS students, teachers, and families.  It will ultimately impact property values and businesses in Fairfax County and sends a dangerously misleading message that our community no longer places the same value that it once did on the benefits of a great school system,” Hynes said.

The budget will be discussed at a series of town hall meetings around the county.  A complete schedule is available here.

 

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.