The Right Note is a weekly opinion column published on Thursdays. The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ARLnow.com.
As we countdown to Election Day Nov. 5, we are reminded that in politics, facts and figures are thrown around quite often. One thing is certain: the numbers a politician uses will be the ones most likely to make their point.
One of my favorites is when Arlington’s elected officials extol the virtues of Arlington’s “low” tax rate. Chris Zimmerman was quoted in one article earlier this year saying Arlington is “eating everyone else’s lunch” on tax rates. Zimmerman credited “smart growth” for bringing in commercial projects and keeping taxes “low.”
While it’s true Arlington has a relatively low tax rate, it is our prime location that is responsible for bringing in relatively high commercial property tax revenue compared to our neighbors. Thanks to the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, the U.S. Capitol, and federal agencies situated just over the river, no jurisdiction in Northern Virginia or Maryland is more well positioned geographically than Arlington.
What our board never talks about is the average out-of-pocket cost of Arlingtonians relative to our neighbors’. The median home value in Arlington is around $524,700. The new tax rate for the year is $1.006 for every $100 in assessed value. So, the average tax bill for Arlingtonians is $5278.48. In Fairfax, the average tax bill is $5052.98. In Alexandria, the average bill is even lower at $4885.48. So, the average Arlingtonian is paying more out of pocket, not less.
I had the opportunity to run against Chris Zimmerman in 2010 for County Board. On the campaign trail he liked to say that you pay more in taxes for the same house in other jurisdictions. But, I think we all know that, with the exception of Alexandria, a $500,000 house in most neighboring Virginia jurisdictions is substantially larger than one in Arlington. How many people do you know that moved out of Arlington to get “more house for the money”?
Over time, I guess elected officials just start believing their own spin. Between School Board and County Board terms, County Board members have been thinking of ways to spend other people’s money for over 15 years on average. This long-term penchant for driving up taxes lead to an astonishingly high cash on hand surplus — news our Board tried to quickly brush aside.
We should keep this in mind as our Board starts talking about spending so-called “closeout,” also known as surplus tax, dollars from the fiscal year that just ended, rather than returning them to us in the form of lower taxes next year. Or, you can just plan on eating lunch out a little less to pay your low tax rate.
Mark Kelly is a former Arlington GOP Chairman and two-time Republican candidate for Arlington County Board.
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Synetic Theater Camps are a wildly fun, highly accessible choice for young people who love moving, playing games, and making memories. Registration is open now for Summer Camps (sessions June 20-August 25) and there are even a few spots left for Spring Break camp, April 3-7.
Located in National Landing, these performance-based camps are designed for students of all ages – no theater or performance experience required.
Led by professional teaching artists, campers learn acting, movement, and technical theater skills through the lens of Physical Theater. Physical Theater incorporates acting, movement, dance, mime, and acrobatics. If you’ve seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, you’ll find many similarities.
Most first-time campers are new to the performing arts, and teaching artists are well-versed in engaging students at all levels. Parents and campers report that one of the best parts of Synetic is the community, with many families returning year after year because they feel a strong sense of belonging.
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Clients and patients are becoming more aware of the requirements of HIPAA compliance and how the regulation protects their personal information. Forward-thinking providers like EDBS Dental Billing Solutions choose the HIPAA Seal of Compliance to differentiate their services.
“Since the nature of our business being exclusively remote, we take HIPAA compliance very seriously. With the help of Compliancy Group, we are able to take steps to fortify our systems to protect PHI information and familiarize each employee about HIPAA and how we can further safeguard PHI data.” said EDBS Dental Billing Solutions founder Goldie De Leon.
WHS Spring Festival
Join us at the WHS Spring Festival on April 22, 2023, from 10am- 3pm at Wakefield High School(main parking lot). Come out to shop, play, and eat!
Shop local vendors, arts & crafts, new and used items, food vendors/trucks, and
District 27 Toastmasters 2023 Virtual Conference
District 27 Toastmasters invites you to its annual conference where you can hear phenomenal speakers, attend professional development and personal growth seminars about leadership, negotiation, communication, teamwork, and mentorship. Learn how to develop your personal story and how to improve