by Emilio Jaksetic
The massive lockdown triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic has caused many businesses and workers to lose significant amounts of income and forced them into financially precarious situations. Despite the undeniable financial pain and suffering that many businesses, workers, and households are facing, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors insisted upon another increase in the real estate tax. Ignoring the request of Republican Supervisor Pat Herrity to hold off on the increase, all the Democratic Supervisors decided to stick to their usual taxaholic ways.
Technically, the board did not raise the real estate tax rate itself. Rather it allowed the tax burden to increase by not adjusting the rate — $1.15-per-hundred dollars of assessed value — downward to offset higher property assessments. If board members had wanted to provide meaningful tax relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, they could have “frozen” everyone’s real estate tax bills for 2020 at the same level as their real estate tax bills for 2019.
Everyone in Fairfax County, not just property owners, will feel the painful effects of the real estate tax increase.
Businesses affected by the real estate tax increase will have their cost of doing business increased in a financially difficult time. When the cost of doing business increases, businesses are forced to make difficult and painful choices: (1) raise the prices of their goods and services; (2) reduce the amount of the goods and services they can afford to provide; (3) reduce the number of employees they can afford to pay or reduce the number of hours their employees work; (4) move their business to another jurisdiction where they can afford to operate; or (5) go out of business altogether. Any of these choices will have a negative impact on the citizens of Fairfax County, not just those businesses that are directly hit by a real estate tax increase.
Renters will also be affected by the real estate tax increase. The owners of rental property will have their cost of doing business increased. When the cost of doing business increases, the owners of rental property also are forced to make difficult and painful choices: (1) raise the rents they charge; (2) reduce the number of employees they can afford to pay to maintain their rental property, or reduce the number of hours those employees work; (3) defer and delay maintenance of their rental property; (4) stop using their property for rental purposes, or (5) sell their rental property. Any of these choices will have a negative impact on (a) renters and their families, and (b) businesses operating from leased premises, not just the owners of rental property.
Naturally, homeowners will be directly affected by a real estate tax increase. Homeowners must pay their mortgages, pay for utilities, pay for maintenance and repair of their homes, pay for their daily living expenses, pay for the support of their families, and pay for medical bills, and pay for other incidental expenses associated with their lives and the lives of their families. When a homeowner gets a real estate tax increase, the homeowner often has to face difficult and painful choices about where to cut or defer other costs of living in order to pay the real estate tax increase. Those painful choices will aggravate the many other problems that homeowners are trying to cope with during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The financial pain and suffering caused by the COVID-19 lockdown are significant, and for too many people, are heartbreaking. The people of Fairfax County deserve some real compassion and sympathy from the Democratic members of the Board of Supervisors, not just words of compassion and words of sympathy. Actions speak louder than words. In these difficult times, the people of Fairfax County deserve, acts of real compassion and sympathy from the Democratic-controlled Board of Supervisors — not a heartless, partisan real estate tax increase.
Even the significant negative financial costs imposed on the people of Fairfax County by COVID-19 pandemic did not give the Democratic-controlled Board of Supervisors reason to temper their taxaholic ways. What else can we expect from the insatiable appetite for tax increases arising from the taxaholic ways of the Democratic-controlled Board of Supervisors? Not even simple tax restraint for 2020 in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic that has caused so much financial damage and distress to the people of Fairfax County.
Emilio Jaksetic, a retired lawyer, is a Republican in Fairfax CountyThere are currently no comments highlighted.