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2003-04-19 Hanley misleads taxpayers about budget

2003-04-19 Hanley misleads taxpayers about budget

Arthur G. Purves, president of the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance (FCTA), today accused Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman, Kate Hanley, of once again misleading the taxpayers about the county budget.

In an April 7, 2003, letter to FCTA member Charles McAndrew, Chairman Hanley defended this year's real estate tax increase by stating, "The County Executive's Advertised Budget for Fiscal Year 2004 calls for an increase in County Direct Disbursements of only 0.73% over Fiscal Year 2003."

Citing "Direct Disbursements" is misleading, because it accounts for less than half of total County spending. It excludes, for example, County funding of the public schools. Between FY2002 and FY2004 the inflation-adjusted school budget is increasing three times faster than enrollment. The total County budget is "Total Disbursements", which is up 4.12%.

Furthermore, county revenues in the Advertised Budget are increasing by 6.03 percent. Since FY2000, county revenues have increased between 6% and 7.5% per year. The increase needed to keep up with population, public school enrollment, and inflation is about 4.5% per year.

The County needs to explain why it is increasing revenues by six percent next year while spending is increasing by four percent.

Mr. Purves said, "Apparently the only way Chairman Hanley feels she can defend the budget is by misrepresenting it. Both she and Supervisor Gerry Connolly, who is now seeking the county chairmanship, told reporters during the supervisors' election campaign four years ago that they would not raise taxes after the election." To keep their campaign promise, the tax rate should be set at 76 cents instead of $1.16.