Don't let the Fairfax County supervisors mislead you
Arthur G. Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, today stated that to avoid a real estate tax increase the Fairfax County supervisors must reduce the real estate tax rate from $1.23 to $1.06. This reduction is required to offset the 16 percent average increase in residential assessments. ìAny real estate tax rate greater than $1.06 is a tax hike,î Purves stated.
Taxpayers should know that a cut in the real estate tax rate can still result in a tax increase. For example, if the supervisors cut the tax rate by five cents to $1.18, that would still equate to an 11 percent tax increase. A five cent reduction only partially offsets the increase in assessments. The following table shows the tax increase corresponding to reduced tax rates:
Tax increase arising from reduced real estate tax rates
ìAmong the supervisorsí well-kept secrets is that state law requires them to reduce the tax rate to offset the assessment increase,î Purves said. If they want a higher rate, the law (Va. Code Section 58.1-3321) requires the supervisors to hold a public hearing and publicly vote to approve the higher rate. The public hearing on the ìeffective tax rateî is scheduled for 3:30 p.m., Monday, April 8, 2002, at the Government Center. ìIt is unfortunate that this hearing is held while taxpayers are at work,î Purves said.
Keeping the tax rate at $1.23 is a tax increase, due to higher assessments. Since Kate Hanley became county chairman, higher assessments will have increased the typical household's real estate taxes by $1000.