For immediate release: November 10, 2006
Contact: Jeff Miller ()
or Bill Holbrook ()
Arlington GOP raps County Board
for holding news on deficit
until after Election Day
ARLINGTON, VA -- Arlington Republicans today criticized the all-Democrat County Board for holding back information on a looming fiscal crisis until after this year's elections.
"Just 24 hours after the polls closed, we learned that next year's budget is projected to be more than $20 million in the red," said County GOP Chairman Jeffrey Miller. The information was provided by County staff to the citizen Fiscal Affairs Advisory Commission (FAAC) at its meeting on Wed., Nov. 8, the day after the 2006 general election.
In guidance to County departments for next year's budget, the County Manager estimated a deficit of $20-$27 million for Fiscal Year 2008, despite higher total revenues. The County's official budget proposal for FY2008 will be released in early 2007. (For more on the FY2008 guidance, see details from the Arlington County Taxpayers Assn..)
"This important information should have been released well before this year's election," said Miller. "In prior years, this information was made available as early as September. Chris Zimmerman and other Board members should have known about this well before Election Day. But Zimmerman never discussed it any public forum, and other candidates were not informed. Arlington voters deserved to know, prior to November 7, how all 2006 candidates for County Board would address this impending fiscal problem."
Arlington County's current budget (for FY2007) already exceeds $1 billion. With just under 200,000 residents, the County spends more per capita than any other local government in Northern Virginia. Arlington real-estate taxes have already doubled in just five years, due to increased assessments without offsetting rate reductions. And earlier this year, the County increased car-tax bills for most residents by more than 50%, along with increases in water and sewer taxes.
The projected deficit for FY2008 presents the risk of an increase in the real estate tax rate next year, on top of skyrocketing tax bills in recent years.
"It is disappointing, but not surprising, that our one-party County Board would hold this information back from the public until after the polls had closed," said Miller. "But these issues are not going away. The Board has already refused to defer low-priority projects, such as the expensive North Tract swimming complex, while cutting back on critical neighborhood infrastructure and human-service programs.
"Next spring, the County Board will have to decide whether to set more sensible spending priorities, or whether to raise our taxes even more. And next fall, when the election focuses on local issues, Arlington voters will finally be able to have their say on whether we need new direction in County government."
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The Arlington County Republican Committee (ACRC) is the official local organization of the Republican Party of Virginia (RPV) for Arlington County. ACRC nominates Republican candidates for local office and supports Republican candidates for office at all levels of government.
For more information on Arlington Republicans, visit ACRC on the web