Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Fairfax County Budget Affects Lives

Opinion: Letter to the Editor: Fairfax County Budget Affects Lives

The large budget adopted at the recent Board of Supervisors meeting has a very real effect on the lives of workers and taxpayers in Fairfax County. The $4.47 billion General Fund for Fiscal Year 2021 works out to be an average tax burden of $3894 per capita, or about $15576 for a family of four. (Mercia Hobson, “Fairfax County Supervisors Approve Budget Plan, Fairfax RISE.”) The approximate population of Fairfax County is 1,147,532 people as of July 1, 2019, according to a Census Bureau estimate.) To someone who lives in one of the wealthiest counties in the country, that might seem routine, but to someone who earns only $10, $15, or $20 an hour, that would seem like a tax of 2 months’ take-home pay.

Aside from the budget numbers, the property tax is also shocking. At $1.15 per $100 assessed value, the owner of a $200,000 house would pay the government an annual $2,300 in rent on his own property.

As is often true with government budgeting, it seems to have been based largely on optimistic assumptions. According to the Updated Budget Proposal, "In the absence of solid data and with so much uncertainty about the outlook, General Fund revenues are projected to be $4,457,199,539, which represents no change from the FY 2020 Adopted Budget Plan level. This level of revenue is based on the assumption that by July, the health crisis is over, and gradual recovery in consumer confidence leads to the resumption of economic activity.” (Quoted by Mercia Hobson in “Revised Fairfax County Budget Reflects Pandemic Realities.”)

Joshua Dunn