Republican challenger for Chairman of the Board of Supervisors
Town of residence: Vienna
Family: Married 42 years, two children, seven grandchildren
Education: BA, MS, MBA University of Pennsylvania
Offices held, dates: N/A
Occupation and relevant experience: Computer Programmer
- President, Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance since 1996
- Member, Fairfax County Meals Tax Task Force (2014)
- Member, Hunter Mill Citizen Budget Committee (2013)
- Treasurer, Fairfax Committee 100
- Member Fairfax Branch, NAACP
- Past member of three Fairfax County Public Schools advisory committees
Email address: Arthur@votepurves.org
Twitter handle: agpurves
Name three favorite endorsements: Del. Tim Hugo and Loudoun Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio
What is one issue that defines your call to serve, why does it matter, and how will you tackle it?
Only 59% of Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) seniors are prepared for college, and the percent prepared varies from 75% for Langley High School to 20% for Lee and Mt. Vernon High Schools. In a quarter of a century FCPS has made no progress in closing the minority student achievement gap: only 35% of Hispanic and 20% of African-American FCPS seniors are prepared for college. Even if you don’t go to college, being prepared for college makes you better qualified for a good job. The solution is better instruction in the basics; not more money. As county chairman I would hold the school board accountable for achievement when the school board makes its annual $2B budget request.
What distinguishes you from your opponent(s) and why should voters choose you?
The incumbent chairman:
- For 16 years has raised real estate taxes three times faster than household income, which is unaffordable, especially for seniors;
- Does not hold the schools accountable for achievement;
- Is indifferent to the disproportionate incarceration of Hispanics and African-Americans in the county jail;
- Sat silent for 17 months while the police department refused to disclose the details of the shooting of an unarmed civilian by a police officer on August 29, 2013;
- Neglected maintenance of the now unsafe and unreliable Metrorail system to build the Silver Line;
- Since 2000 cut staffing of libraries and parks by 112 positions while adding 145 clerks to handle public assistance applications, for a total of 354 public assistance positions.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics job growth in Fairfax County was close to last of the 342 largest U.S. counties last year. I will grow jobs by cutting taxes; using the chairman’s pulpit to advocate for higher achievement, including Hispanic and African-American achievement, through better curricula; being transparent; and making Metrorail repairs my highest transportation priority.
More than half of the county budget is devoted to the local school system. A significant budget gap looms for the next budget cycle, both for FCPS and Fairfax County. What are the top county priorities and how will you assure funding and manage the budget? What ideas do you have for increasing revenue? Name two areas/items you would cut or reduce.
For FY2017 the county and schools want to increase spending by $240M while revenues are projected to increase only $20M without a real estate tax hike. This predicament demonstrates the need for new leadership. Seventy percent of the spending increase is for raises (3.5% for county and 4% for school employees), Cadillac health plans, and pensions with retirement at 55. My opponent would raise real estate taxes 9%, pushing the typical homeowner’s real estate tax from $5,700 to $6,200. She raised real estate taxes 8% last year. For 16 years the supervisors have been increasing taxes three times faster than household income. Since 2000, while school enrollment has increased 22%, the school budget increased 100%. County and school spending for health and pension benefits increased $700M since 2000; that is $400M more than needed to keep up with inflation, population, and enrollment. For 16 years the average annual raise for 30,000 county and school employees has been 4%. To pay for these raises and benefits, the supervisors have been increasing real estate taxes three times faster than household income. The revenue from the tax hikes was not enough to pay for the raises and benefits, so park and library staffing was cut and class sizes increased. And now teachers and police cannot afford the $6,000 real estate taxes that were increased to pay for their own raises and benefits. To make Fairfax County affordable again, we need to cut taxes by reducing benefits and giving smaller raises, as is the case with private-sector employees.
How many hours a week of outside employment do you anticipate while serving on the Board of Supervisors?
I can retire and be a full-time chairman.