Yesterday Governor Tim Kaine and his financial advisors discussed a nearly $2.8 Billion dollar deficit for the state. He will present his budget revisions to the General Assembly December 17. The news is going to be grim. Yesterday Gov. Kaine met with Barack Obama in to discuss the economy. The FY 2010 budget begins July 1.
The pain, however, is not being evenly felt. Arlington has a huge commercial tax base which will help keep it from total hard times. The huge decrease in home values in Prince William County has eviscerated county finances. PWC lacks the extensive commercial tax base that Arlington enjoys.
Less money will go to Richmond and in turn, that means less money for localities. Arlington County officials are considering an increase in 1.7 cents for next year, although that wouldn’t totally fix their budget deficit.
The PW BOCS is still playing around with the tax rate. At last glance it appears that $1.13.[correction from $1.16 to $1.13] was being considered. Currently the tax rate is at $.97. Even with the increase in rate, most residents will find their tax bill less because of the substantial drop in property value. The average home value in PWC has dropped about 30%. PWC has the most foreclosures in the state of Virginia.
The PWC BOCS is looking at a variety of ways to help keep the wolf away from the door, including enacting cigarette, admissions and meals taxes. Chairman Corey Stewart was quoted as saying “We ought to focus our guns on core issues and not get sidetracked by other things.”
According to an article in the Washington Post:
Prince William, which has the highest number of foreclosures in the state, wants additional authority to place liens on vacant property to help recover the cost of cleaning graffiti. It also wants to extend liability protection to neighboring property owners who mow grass or remove trash and debris from vacant properties.
What else does Stewart have in mind? Obviously his Immigration Resolution didn’t bring in the savings we were promised. Of course, no one believed that one. That was just a way to fool people and even at that, only a few bought in to that blarny.
The school system will be slammed by these cuts. Already there is talk of no cost of living increase for employees and larger sized classes. There is also talk of delaying capital improvements which would include delaying the building of a new, much needed high school.
Are there solutions to lessen the problems facing PWC? Would people be content having the 2010 tax rate even higher to maintain services? Would a higher tax rate drive out businesses?
Having the most foreclosures in the state of Virginia is sure a distinction I could do without.