Tax Town Hall

Albemarle and Charlottesville are not alone in struggling with tax cuts/service cuts – all levels of government – and the citizens – are struggling. From the New York Times regarding states’ budgets

The astonishing decline in revenues is without modern precedent here, but California is hardly alone. A majority of states — many with budgets already full of deep cuts and dependent on raiding rainy-day funds or tax increases — are scrambling to find ways to get through the rest of the year without hacking apart vital services or raising taxes.

Others are demanding hiring freezes and across-the-board cuts. A few states are finding their unemployment insurance funds running dry, just as the ranks of out-of-work residents spike.

The plunging revenues — the result of an unusual assemblage of personal, sales, capital gains and corporate taxes falling significantly — have poked holes in budgets that are just weeks and months old and that came about only after difficult legislative sessions.

Here’s what I do – I ignore the advocacy and focus on the information. Raising taxes should not be the default response. We’re all facing “unprecedented declines” and we need to work together to find the solution. Blaming government without getting involved is counterproductive.

From the Albemarle Truth in Taxation Alliance

Crozet Town Hall Meeting “2008 Firehouse Tour” Continues

ATTA is hosting a series of local Town Hall meetings throughout the county this fall.

To find out more about ATTA and what to expect during the 2009 county budget process, please attend our Crozet ATTA Town Hall Meeting:

Crozet Town Hall Meeting
Crozet Firehouse
5652 Three Notched RD, Crozet
Thursday, November 20, 2008
7:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public

If you read the Nov. 13 Daily Progress article “County’s decision: Cuts or tax hike” you saw the following statement regarding Supervisor David Slutzky’s approach toward our current financial situation:

David L. Slutzky, a Democrat, said the county should start with a tax rate closer to 90 cents – which would allow the county to avoid service cuts, and then systematically decide which of those services should be cut or scaled back.

Slutzky’s attitude is profound for several reasons:

A 90-cent real estate tax rate represents a 26.8% increase over our current rate. During the current economic climate — when so many of us struggle to provide for basic needs — suggesting such a draconian tax increase is absurd.

The premise is flawed. Raising taxes or cutting services are not the only options. More effective and efficient use of available revenues should be the first option. This is why the county is currently performing a Resource Utilization Study–to identify how we can do more with less!

Slutzky’s suggestion to raise taxes now and then fix government spending later is truly laughable.
The Program Service Review (Form 4) initiated by Albemarle County well over a years ago has gone nowhere (its goal was to identify 10% cost savings in every department).

It took the Albemarle BoS seven months to begin its current Resource Utilization Study after being challenged to do so by ATTA.
There remains a profound lack of sense of urgency by county gov. to make substantial improvements to how our tax money is spent.

Slutzky is basically ask us to trust him: raise tax now and he’ll lead the charge later to cut them in the future.

We all know what will happen: if we raise taxes now, there won’t be a later. There will only be new rationale to keep the tax rate at 90 cents — or raise it even higher.

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2 Replies to “Tax Town Hall”

  1. I could not disagree with the major premise of ATTA more. This organization’s only mantra is “reduce taxes” with little regard for the consequences such an act will have on our community. No programs are identified as unnecessary. Would they prefer fewer police, no courts, closing schools? Nor do I give ATTA credit for pressuring the BOS into engaging in a utilization review. That credit should go to the School Board who already conducted such a study. The reality is that taxes in Virginia are ridiculously low compared to the rest of the country. The proposed “increase” would not result an increase in the county budget, but merely maintain essential services. These folks have it wrong.

  2. Amy – I think that one of my main desires with posting this is to encourage people to educate themselves about the process and to ensure that government is aware that they are being watched and monitored. Too often the default is to either raise taxes (gov’t) or be complacent (citizens). Neither is, in my opinion, the correct response.

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