Despite rising property values overall and adding over a million dollars in revenue from new properties on the tax roll, the Arlington City Council intends to adopt the same property tax rate as last year, which will result in higher tax bills for families and businesses.
This is a common practice amongst local politicians—allow rising appraisal values to increase tax burdens. Alternatively, city officials could adopt the “effective” tax rate presented to them by city staff. The effective tax rate is the rate the city could charge in order to collect the same amount of tax revenue as the previous year from the same properties.
The property tax hike is only one part of recent efforts to increase the cost of local government on area-residents.
The city is also entertaining the idea of raising the sales tax rate next May. Additionally, the Arlington Independent School District recently passed their own debt deal that will raise tax rates over the next several years.
Newly elected Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams promised during his campaign that he would “provide a fiscally responsible approach to protect taxpayers.” Councilwoman Kathryn Wilemon made similar promises during her re-election, stating, “I won’t stop working until we have the lowest taxes and best services.”
Arlington residents are left wondering whether city officials who campaigned on “fiscal responsibility” and “low taxes” follow through on their promises.
It’s important to remember that higher taxes hurt the poorest the hardest since they have the least amount of disposable income. Businesses are also negatively affected, stunting local economic growth. Perhaps city officials could look at reducing spending areas deemed unnecessary, such as the $205,000 to upgrade Parks and Recreation’s softball registration software?
Arlington is infamous for spending transportation funds on head-scratching stupidity such as “traffic-calming zones” in residential areas, by creating medians and other obstacles in the roadway to force drivers to slow down by swerving.
City officials should be asked to justify any tax increase. In light of the recent rejection of the city’s controversial red-light camera policy, the Council needs to carefully consider how much trouble they want to give Arlington taxpayers before the next election cycle.