To the Editor:
The following statement was addressed to the Board of Supervisors and the Board of Education.
We want to protest the dramatic budget increases. The County Executive presented the FY2017 Advertised Budget General Funds Revenue of $4.01 billion which is an increase of 4.8 percent over last year’s budget. The County Executive presented the FY2017 General Funds Disbursements budget of $3.99 billion or an increase of 4.4 percent over the FY 2016 Adopted Budget Plan. Dr. Garza presented the Fairfax County Public School (FCPS) budget of approximately $2.7 billion and requires a $122.7 million increase over last year’s FCPS budget or 6.7 percent increase over the FY2016 Adopted Budget Plan. The difference between the advertised budget and the current request for funding is almost $68 million equating to approximately three cents added to the current real estate tax rate. Overall expenditures of the Fairfax County Government in the FY2017 Adopted Budget Plan grand total of $7.45 billion, an increase of $319 million or 4.5 percent over the FY2016 Adopted Budget Plan. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics for Fairfax County, in calendar year 2015, the consumer price index only increased by 0.1 percent. According to Kiplinger’s magazine, the projected nationwide inflation rate for 2016 is estimated at 1.0 percent. So again as usual, year after year, the county is raising the budget double or triple or more than the increases in the consumer price index for Fairfax County which is outrageous. How can you justify raising the budget way beyond the inflation rate?
Both the County Executive and the School Superintendent have made misleading statements about their efforts to cut the budget. The fact is that the county budget and the FCPS budget increases year after year at least double or triple or more than the inflation rate. According to the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance (FCTA) between 2000 and 2016, the FCPS spending will have increased 103 percent. During this period, FCPS enrollment increased 22 percent and staff increased by 27 percent and inflation increased 49 percent. We do support rewarding deserving FCPS teachers with moderate salary increases.
Isn’t it time to increase the retirement age for those employees under 30 to age 66? After all, union dominated states such as Illinois at age 67, Vermont at age 65, California at age 65, and New Jersey at age 65 and some other states and local governments have raised the age requirements. Based on data from the Fairfax County Federation of Citizens Association report issued over a year ago, raising the retirement age to 66 for all new employees could eventually save $150 million annually. Also, dropping the DROP program could save $31 million annually.
We look forward to your written comments. Thank you for your attention.