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Editorial: Fairfax officials seeking to fudge reality of tax hike?

Suggesting that tax rate could have been higher is not exactly fiscal responsibility

Spin, baby, spin: Some Fairfax County government sycophants, apologists and hangers-on are trying to portray this year’s hike in the real-estate tax rate as a decline – or at least rationalizing that the tax-paying public should be thankful county supervisors didn’t enact a higher rate than they did.

They note that the tax rate that is being adopted by the Board of Supervisors is lower than the tax rate supervisors had advertised for consideration some months ago. Which is true, if completely beside the point.

The plain facts are, the tax rate set for adoption this week ($1.125 per $100 assessed valuation) is higher than the rate of 2023 ($1.095 per $100). Only in the world of modern-day public-school math could that increase be spun as a reduction; trying to present the adopted tax rate as a win for the public is asinine – even if some will swallow it.

Yes, the Fairfax County government has needs. But no, we don’t think Fairfax supervisors have done a great job in looking at ways to fundamentally reform the budget process to gain more bang for the buck. So long as supervisors (nine of the 10, at least) view property owners as their government’s piggy bank, and so long as property owners don’t hold government’s feet to the fire, the spending trajectory will continue up, up, up.