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2001-10-20 Sales tax hike to cost $400 per household


Arthur G. Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, today stated that the one-penny road and school construction sales tax increase, if passed, would cost the typical Fairfax County household about $400 per year. Given that the current sales tax rate is 4.5 cents on the dollar, the typical household would pay, after the increase, $2200 per year for sales taxes alone. This is in addition to paying about $3000 in real estate and personal property taxes and $5000 in state income taxes. The $400 estimate comes from the Fairfax County FY2002 Adopted Budget Overview, page 263.

The tax hike would solve nothing. An Oct. 15 Washington Post article commented that Mark Warner's transportation plan, which requires a sales tax hike, would not finance "more than a sliver of the solutions..." If the tax were allocated to schools, it might not even be spent on much-needed school construction. An Oct. 19 Fairfax Journal article stated that the Fairfax Education Association wants the tax increase allocated to salaries instead of buildings.

Schools are already lavishly funded. Both Fairfax County and the state of Virginia have increased real spending per student by 100 percent over the last twenty years. This gives the Fairfax County Public Schools an extra $800 million per year, for a total of $1.5 billion. However, there has been no real increase in transportation funding. This year's Virginia budget of $23.5 billion is $8 billion more than is required to pay for population growth and inflation over the last 20 years. None of the extra $8 billion went to transportation, primarily because state policy is to not spend income tax revenue on transportation. Only one percent of Virginia general fund revenues is spent on transportation.

Purves stated: "The 'let-the-voters-decide' mantra regarding the sales tax referendum is deceptive because those who proclaim it are not telling the voters how much the tax will cost and how little it will accomplish. They also conceal the huge increases in school spending and state and county revenues. The solution to gridlock is for the state to spend more than one percent of general fund revenues on transportation, which is what Mark Earley proposes."