Vote’s Message: Examine Spending
To the Editor:
The voters have spoken and the Meals Tax Referendum was defeated 54 percent to 46 percent. I trust our Board of Supervisors does not interpret that result as a "mandate" to raise other local taxes it has the authority to raise. For example, the Real Estate Tax rate for Fairfax County is one of the highest in the area, $1.13 per $100 of assessed value. By comparison, Alexandria's rate is $1.073, Arlington's rate is $0.996, and Fairfax City's rate is $1.062. The rate in Loudoun County is slightly higher, $1.135 and in Prince William County slightly lower, $1.122.
No, the vote should send the message to the Board of Supervisors that taxpayers feel over-taxed and that taxpayers want the county to tighten its belt and reduce spending. In a county of over 1 million residents, one would think economies of scale could be employed to reduce expenses and unnecessary and duplicative programs could be eliminated.
Fiscal responsibility needs to be the order of the day in Fairfax County. A smart, business-like approach can pay dividends. One purpose given for the meals tax was to fund increased teacher salaries. I understand teacher salaries are lower than those in neighboring jurisdictions but pension benefits are higher. Perhaps pension benefits should be adjusted to more closely track those of neighboring jurisdictions and the savings could be applied to increasing teacher salaries.
The voters have spoken and political leaders must listen.
H. Jay Spiegel