Virginia Beach Budget Will Lower Your Standard of Living

When Councilman John Moss narrowly lost his seat on City Council in a 2022 three-way race, Virginia Beach lost the lone elected official who actually understood municipal budgeting. Moss could be counted on to make city budgeteers squirm as he peppered them with intelligent questions about why they continually funded vacant city jobs and then used the surplus as a slush fund for the pet projects of city cronies. Plus he ALWAYS pressured his colleagues — fruitlessly, as it turned out — to lower the annual real estate tax rate to give homeowners relief from soaring assessments.

John Moss, who was first elected to City Council in 1986, is running for mayor. We asked Mr. Moss for his input on the budget City Council will vote on tonight.

—Kerry Dougherty 

by John Moss 

No Beach family or resident who lives alone needs to be told they are losing control over their economic lives. We all know our purchasing power is in free fall.

Inflation benefits only tax collections.

There is one group in our community that is clearly detached from the economic reality that Beach residents — and all Americans — understand and experience each day.

That group is the Virginia Beach City Council.

State law requires localities to drop real estate property rates to avoid windfalls when assessments rise. Virginia Beach City Council ignores that and quietly raises that rate year after year, resulting in massive surpluses, while increasing the burden on property owners.

Over the last three years, Virginia Beach residential real estate assessments grew an average of 28.94 percent. The City Council reset the real estate tax rate each year to create the illusion that taxes were not raised, but the growth in assessments results in much higher taxes.

Homeowners and renters have absorbed these increased taxes, outpacing their wage and income growth. It’s worth noting that these tax increases took place when the city continued to run annual budget surpluses.

The City Council is poised tonight to increase the real estate tax rate by 4.277 cents to 97 cents from the state law tax-neutral rate of 92.72 in order to spend an additional $35.1 million over and above revenue increases from other sources and a $56 million surplus this year.

Last Tuesday the politicians larded on millions in additional spending, including hundreds of thousands for projects benefiting special interests.

Tax relief for Beach residents absorbing over a $1,000 a month inflation tax was not one of the mayor’s or council majority’s special interests. Council members discussed studying tax relief for NEXT year.

Talk in the City Council’s case is taxing and not cheap.

These politicians continually lower your standard of living. And that doesn’t seem to bother them one bit.

Voters should consider studying mayoral candidate John Moss’s proposal on his website,, to eliminate the 2024 $35.1 million real estate tax increase with minor, if any, inconvenience.

Republished with permission from Kerry: Unemployed and Unedited.