Welcome to FIVE FOR FRIDAY: A weekly roundup of Public Policy Issues and Headlines from around the Northern Virginia Region, the Commonwealth and on Capitol Hill.
1. Arlington County manager proposes budget that would freeze tax rate, increase employee pay
Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz on Saturday proposed a budget that would freeze the residential tax rate and significantly increase pay for government employees, which he said was a way to reward those workers who have pushed the Northern Virginia suburb through the worst of the pandemic. The $1.47 billion spending plan would freeze Arlington’s residential tax rate at $1.013 per $100 of assessed value. But rising property values mean the average homeowner would still pay $395 more on their annual real estate tax bill. (The average single-family residence in the county is assessed at $762,700.)
2. Real Estate Tax Rate Unchanged In Alexandria 2023 Budget Proposal
A budget with no change to the real estate tax rate was proposed by Alexandria City Manager James Parajon Tuesday. Parajon, who took over for retiring City Manger Mark Jinks in January, presented the general fund budget and capital funding plan proposals to City Council. The real estate tax rate is proposed to remain the same at $1.11 per $100 of assessed value. The budget includes two alternative budget options with 1-cent and 2-cent increases to the rate to fund other initiatives. Even without a change to the tax rate, property owners with a higher 2022 assessment value would see a higher tax bill. The city's overall tax base increased by 6.24 percent from 2021 to 2022. For residential properties, about 82 percent increased in value, 3 percent decreased and 15 percent were unchanged.
3. Loudoun County administrator proposes $3.5 billion budget for fiscal 2023
Loudoun County Administrator Tim Hemstreet on Wednesday presented to the Board of Supervisors a proposed fiscal 2023 budget totaling $3.5 billion in appropriations for the county government and Loudoun County Public Schools. The proposed spending plan is balanced with a real property tax rate of $0.895 per $100 of assessed value, which is 8.5 cents below the current real property tax rate of $0.98 per $100 of assessed value. While the proposed tax rate for fiscal 2023 is lower than the current tax rate, a Feb. 9 release from county officials stated that the proposed rate is five cents above the equalized rate of $0.845, which is the rate at which the average real property owner’s tax bill would remain flat year over year.
4. Prince William budget pitches meals tax, real estate tax boost
Local taxes could go up again in Prince William County in the coming year under a proposed $1.48 billion budget proposed by acting-County Executive Elijah Johnson. The budget – a $140 million increase over the current year – would be funded by rising residential tax assessments, an increase in the fire levy and a new, countywide meals tax of 4%. If approved, it will pay for 4% county employee pay raises, a $61 million increase in local tax revenue to the county’s public schools and across-the-board increases for local public safety and social services agencies. Johnson’s proposed real estate tax rate is $1.05 per $100 in assessed value, a 6-cent decrease over the current year. But because of an increase in assessments, which will average about 11%, the annual residential real estate tax bill will rise by an average of $233 under his proposal.
5. NAR Comments on Proposed WOTUS Rule
NAR recently submitted in coordination with a robust coalition of regulated stakeholders, on the Environmental Protection Agency's and the Army Corps of Engineers' proposed rule redefining "the waters of the United States" (WOTUS) under the Clean Water Act. NAR is concerned that this proposed rule, if finalized, will sweep more U.S. waters under jurisdiction of the federal Clean Water Act, leading to more delays in building more homes. The EPA has not set a timeframe for finalizing the proposed rule.