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Tuesday, March 21, 2023
Editor’s NotebookEditor's Notebook: Homeowners about to get hammered

Editor’s Notebook: Homeowners about to get hammered

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The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors acknowledged it – tacitly – a couple of weeks ago, and this past Saturday, equally tacitly, the Arlington County Board did the same.

Homeowners can expected to get hammered at tax time in 2023. And alas, not in a good way.

With values of commercial properties having declined during COVID (if you can’t fill them up with tenants, they can’t be taxed as high); with the local governments soon to be taken to the cleaners in the collective-bargaining agreements that they inflicted upon themselves and thus taxpayers; with home assessments likely to be higher in 2023 than they were in 2022 despite the recent slowdown – these county governments will have to get the moolah from somewhere, and it’s likely going to be from the wallets of those who own homes.


Having sold out and at least temporarily left the ranks of Northern Virginia homeowners last year, I no longer have a dog in the fight. But that doesn’t mean I can’t watch the proceedings with my usual jaded perspective.

Almost no attention whatsoever was paid by Arlington board members or the county manager at Saturday’s “budget guidance” time about the impact of ongoing tax increases on the middle class in the county. That’s because [here’s the little secret] in their heart of hearts, they really don’t care. As long as somebody will buy up all the homes, even if it’s investors waiting to turn them into Missing Middle rental monstrosities, the tax revenue keeps flowing and elected officials can keep funding their pet projects by using residents as a never-ending ATM.

SPEAKING OF MISSING MIDDLE: In upcoming coverage we note that an Arlington VIP (Very Important Politician) has opined that the County Board might want to pump the brakes a bit on Missing Middle. Board members’ hearts are in the right place, this VIP says, but there remain a lot of details that need to be worked out.

And yep, it’s a Democrat.

TASSLE-TURNING TIME: We have coverage this week of last week’s George Mason University winter commencement exercises. Good stuff – the kind of thing other media outlets that proclaim they are local-local-local ought to be out doing, but too seldom do. Sigh.

– Scott McCaffrey

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