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Candland, Republicans Oppose Prince William Tax Increases During COVID-19

‘Who raises taxes during an Economic Crisis?’ 

Newsletter Opinion by Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland-R

April 24th 2020

Gainesville Supervisor Peter Candland

Dear Friends,

On Tuesday, April 28th, Prince William County appears to be headed to producing its own version of the Twilight Zone. We have five other members of the Board of County Supervisors committed to vote to approve a tax rate that will significantly increase taxes, and county spending by tens of millions of dollars.

While our families are suffering in the clutches of this pernicious Coronavirus pandemic and looking at a potential economic meltdown that is forcing dramatically reduced household income and spending, our County government is looking to press the gas pedal on their own spending.

Prince William population growth has only increased by about 1% in the past year, and inflation for the cost of goods and services purchased by county government is near zero. Yet while we are entering an economic death grip from COVID-19, certain county government leaders are going to increase our taxes to the tune of almost $30 million.

I know some will say that this contradicts what’s being shared on social media because Chairwoman Wheeler announced that the county would reduce the previously planned tax increase from almost $55 million in new tax revenue to what she is calling a “flat tax rate.”

A “flat tax rate” still creates a tax increase – and in this case a very big tax increase. Taxes will go up by the assessment increase of your home.  Since all homes were assessed before the full breakout of the COVID-19 pandemic, most taxpayers will see a significant increase in their taxes, many in our most economically disadvantaged areas.

When the scourge of the COVID-19 first hit, Supervisors Lawson, Vega, and I called on the newly elected Democratic majority to join us in voting to adopt a “flat tax bill” for this year’s budget. That means you would not have paid a single penny more in taxes than you paid last year.

We want a realistic budget that takes into account the harsh economic impacts we all are experiencing. This isn’t playing politics; this is responding to realities.

Since April 1st, the Virginia Employment Commission reports 26,474 Prince William County workers filed for unemployment. From February to March, unemployment payments to workers living in Prince William County jumped 109%!

Thousands of families are out of work already, having to rely on far less than they made while employed, and no one can honestly say they know things will return to normal soon!

But the story in Prince William’s own Ivory Palace known as the McCoart Building is that not a single county employee is being laid off. In fact, if this budget is passed on Tuesday, many of these employees will actually receive a raise because of the county compensation study that illogically keeps trying to make us identical to Fairfax or Arlington County.

While families sit at their kitchen tables trying to figure out how to pay the mortgage, a car payment, and put food on the table, some on the Board of County Supervisors will be complaining how government can get by on only a $30 million increase, rather than the $55 million they wanted to take from taxpayers.

I believe I was elected to represent you, not county government.

Chairwoman Wheeler stated in a recent meeting that county government is the “fabric of the community.”

No, county government exists only to serve citizens, we do not exist to serve county government.

I agree that county government plays a vital role in providing key services such as fire, police and education, but I believe it’s our neighborhoods, churches and engaged Prince William County citizens who are the real fabric of our community – and their livelihoods are what we should be protecting.

County government needs to come to the realization that it’s not “business as usual” where big tax increases are a yearly ritual.

I believe we will emerge from this crisis through the hard work of Prince William families – not because of a heavier hand of government. If the majority of this Board feels that it’s important to add some new spending program, then they should cut spending elsewhere like every business organization today.

You have my commitment that I will vote NO to any budget proposal on Tuesday that increases taxes on you.

I will vote NO to any budget proposal on Tuesday that looks to add millions of dollars in new county spending.

Please take the time to share your opinion on the $1.125 tax rate that would increase County revenues by almost $30 million dollars. Email the entire Board of County Supervisors at bocs@pwcgov.org and make your voice heard.

Sincerely,


Pete Candland, Supervisor
Gainesville Magisterial District

 

This represents the opinion of its author only and not necessarily those of Bristow Beat.

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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