The proposed fiscal 2023 Arlington government budget outlined by County Manager Mark Schwartz on Saturday is another clear indication that the impact of government policy – intentional or not – will be to denude the community of as many middle-class homeowners as possible.
Schwartz, who earlier in his tenure might have been (almost) mistaken for a budget hawk, put forward a package with no cut in the real-estate tax rate.
Couple that with yet another year of higher assessments, and you’ll see home-owners of modest means continuing to be priced out.
There’s no real political risk in the County Board’s adhering to this strategy – those middle-class property owners who once formed a major political bloc in the community have been outflanked by what one civic activist calls the “gimme-groups” – special-interest organizations that feast at the trough of local largess each budget cycle.
The die was cast some years ago, but Schwartz’s budget is further indication that the county government thinks itself more worthy of confiscating your money than you are of keeping it. And if that means Arlington continues its predictable descent into a community where the only people able to live here are those wealthy enough to afford the continued assaults on the pocketbook, coupled with those whose means are so modest that they can rely on subsidized housing and other social-safety-net programs to make ends meet, the political structure’s view seems to be, “so be it.”
And so it shall be, despite the fact that, by our reckoning, most if not all board members fall into the category of those who are being squeezed by their own daft policy.