FCNP coverage of the Falls Church budget process praises the “slashing” of the Falls Church property tax rate from $1.32/$100.00 to $1.23/$100.00. The coverage fails to note, however, that even after this “deepest” rate cut our city will continue to impose by far the highest property tax rate in the state of Virginia. Falls Church imposes a disproportionate tax burden on home owners, not because this is necessitated by “costlier burdens determined by scale,” but because our city government chooses not to tax businesses as other municipalities across the state routinely do.
No less important, the anti-homeowner bias in our city budget has been compounded in recent years by real estate assessments spiraling wildly beyond the actual market value of homes in Falls Church. The assessed value of our home has increased by five percent in the past two years alone, pushing its supposed value to a level that bears no relation to the actual selling price of homes of similar size and type. This unsupportable appraisal inflation accounts for the fact that, despite the supposed “slashing” of the property tax rate, real estate tax bills in Falls Church are still expected to increase this year by more than $600.00.
If Falls Church is truly to have a “world class” budgetary structure, profound reform is needed – starting with the reining in of runaway assessments, actual slashing of the property tax rate to align with Virginia norms, and enactment of a reasonable commercial and industrial tax so businesses pay a fair share.