As U.S. Teeters On the Brink of Recession, Virginia Beach Hikes Taxes

Clouds gather over Va Beach. (Bob Rayner)

by Kerry Dougherty

Do you mind if I’m brutally honest for a minute? Good. Because there’s no stopping me today.

Any member of the Virginia Beach City Council majority who voted Tuesday to approve an obscene $2.5 billion budget as the country teeters on the edge of a recession is a liar if they try to tell you they didn’t raise taxes.

I mean it. Join me in calling them LIARS.

While it’s true these politicians left the tax RATE alone, assessments jumped an average of 9%, with some of us seeing much sharper increases.

That means almost every homeowner in Virginia Beach just got a big fat tax hike. Combine that with an inflation rate of about 5%and the average working family trying to stay above water in the resort city is drowning.

Real estate taxes based on rising assessments are a fundamentally unfair way to raise revenue.

Think about it: On one hand, soaring assessments are a good thing. For most of us, our homes are our biggest assets. No one wants their asset to lose value.

If your stocks go up but you leave your money in the stock market, you aren’t taxed on unrealized gains. You’re taxed when you sell shares.

But when property values skyrocket and you stay in your home, you’re being taxed on your “wealth.” In the parlance of the world of finance, you’re paying taxes on unrealized capital gains.

So, the majority on City Council just voted to lower your standard of living by hiking the taxes on your home. The fact that your home is worth more than it was last year is no indicator of your ability to pay more in tributes to local government.

This tax hike — did I mention that nearly every economist in the world is predicting the U.S. will be in a recession by year’s end? — was brought to you by the out-of-touch-free-spending members of City Council who are showering Pharrell’s surf park with cash, while extorting more out of ordinary people.

It’s the Virginia Beach way.

And don’t let them gaslight you with the old trope “it’ll pay for itself” with this latest resort area shiny object. These projects almost never live up to the hype. By the time the taxpaying schlumps figure out they’ve been played, the pols have moved onto their next fancy project.

Ask them if the TPC Golf course ever paid for itself.

While there may be a few new faces on this sorry elected body, it’s the same old way of thinking.

The vote on Tuesday was 8-3 for the bloated budget.

Who were the three sane members? Glad you asked. Chris Taylor and Sabrina Wooten were joined in a rare display of common sense by Barbara Henley, who’s been on council since Reconstruction.

Republican or Democrat, once they’re elected to City Council, they’re all the same.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.