The Virginia General Assembly last year voted to let counties increase their commercial property tax in order to pay for new transportation projects. The counties promised they would spend it on new projects. Business groups didn’t fight the tax increase because they were desperate to see transportation improvements that would enable customers to shop and go to work without being stuck in gridlock.
But soon after the tax increase was enacted, Fairfax County decided to instead divert the money from new transportation projects to pre-existing expenses, like inflated employee salaries and existing bus routes. As always, public employee salaries take priority over investing in the future — and the promises made by politicians. As Dave Albo (R-Springfield) notes, businesses are being scammed.
Meanwhile, wealthy Arlington County, which has been on a “decade-long spending spree,” is raising property taxes to fund the unusually generous pensions and health benefits of county employees, who are already paid better than private sector employees. (Private sector employees in the County typically have no employer-financed pension at all.) The county claims to be tightening its belt, but county general fund spending is going up by 5 percent. The average American’s salary didn’t increase by that much over the past year.