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Supervisor Lawson Asks, ‘Higher Property Taxes and County Fees, NOW?’  

Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson (R)

‘Higher Property Taxes and County Fees, NOW?’  

Opinion Piece by Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson-R

Everyone agrees, we are living in a very strange and historic time. In a short order, an invisible enemy of mankind has turned everyday life upside down, killed many people around the globe, brought the booming American economy to its knees, and sucker punched thousands of families and business owners right here in Prince William County. Yet, some of my colleagues deem it appropriate to raise your taxes right now and increase spending by $30 million dollars.  

On Tuesday, April 28, my board colleagues and I will vote on the annual tax rates, county fees and ultimately the annual fiscal budget. The lion’s share of tax revenues to operate our county and fund public education comes from real estate taxes on your home. As it stands right now, your property taxes will INCREASE this year because assessed values of homes are higher than last year. That means if the BOCS adopts the same rate as last year, your taxes will go up. Most homes in the Brentsville District are valued higher than the county average which means the average bill in the Brentsville District will go up MORE than the average increase of $177. To rub salt in the wound, fees on your car are rising AND fees for county parks and recreation are increasing.  

As the Brentsville District Supervisor, in the past I have voted on budgets that call for a flat tax rate that generated higher revenues. These budgets covered new spending such as public safety pay- adjustments, teacher pay raises and capital projects like our new high school. These were difficult decisions that I did not take lightly knowing residents would be required to pay higher taxes.  

Today’s COVID 19 crisis is different, and possibly more damaging than the Great Recession, as individuals, families, and businesses fear physical as well as financial health.  Why would we as elected officials inflict additional stress on family budgets by raising taxes? Just as families and businesses are taking a serious look at their expenditures, deciding between wants and needs, so must Prince William County Supervisors.  

In the early days of COVID- 19, I joined Supervisors Candland and Vega in calling for a flat tax bill, meaning your tax bill is identical to last year. Everyone else is tightening their belts, Prince William County can too. As I’ve said, I am very concerned some of my colleagues believe raising taxes by $30 million dollars is appropriate. I disagree. Many leaders on both sides of the aisle agree with me. For example, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on March 18th said: “I don’t know how you raise taxes on people who are out of work and their business is closed because government needs more funding.”

This article represents the opinion of its author and not necessarily that of Bristow Beat. 

© 2020, Bristow Beat. All rights reserved.

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