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Editorial: Do Fairfax supervisors really care about homeowners?

Once again, residents will have to dig deeper to fund an ever-growing county government

At the onset of the pandemic back in 2020, just as local governments across the region were in the midst of their budget processes for the ensuing fiscal year, we swear we heard one elected official in a neighboring jurisdiction say her government wasn’t going to cut real-estate tax rates despite ever-rising home assessments because (and we’re paraphrasing as best we can remember) “the government needs the money more than the public does.”

It was certainly a brazen pronouncement, the product of both years of living within the local-government “bubble” in one-party Northern Virginia coupled with genuinely, if mistakenly, believing that government is the answer to the ills of the world.

No Fairfax County supervisors would be caught dead saying such a thing (at least until the public was out of earshot), but actions speak louder than words. And based on what we’ve seen so far when it comes to Fairfax’s fiscal 2025 budget, it looks like homeowners are going to be used as the government’s ATM even more than in the past.

Government officials have outlined plans for a third consecutive year of big staff pay raises. And when you couple that with an ever-more fiscally ravenous school system (if only FCPS had the results to back up the spending!) and the declining – one might say cratering – valuations of commercial office buildings and some retail venues, the cost of government is going to be shifted to the residential side of the ledger.

In sum: Get out your checkbooks, Fairfax homeowners.For now, the message being sent is clear, if not vocalized. The Fairfax government thinks it deserves your money more than you do.