Republican for Chairman
Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
Pronunciation Guide: "Purves" rhymes with "service"
Results of the November 3, 2015, Election
|Sharon Bulova (D-Incumbent)||111,273||60%||$392,424|
|Arthur Purves (R)||63,051||34%||$16,811|
|Gail Parker (Ind Green)||10,900||6%||$5|
Campaign brochure: "As chairman, Sharon has kept taxes affordable ..." Response: For 16 years real estate taxes for the typical homeowner have increased three times faster than household income, from $2400 in 2000 to $5700 now, a 140% increase. Inflation over the same period was 49%.
Campaign brochure: "Sharon has ensured a positive, business firendly climate ..."
Response: According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, of the 342 largest counties in the U.S., Fairfax County's job 0.5% growth last year was close to the bottom.
Campaign brochure: "Under her leadership, Fairfax County has maintained its triple-Aaa credit rating ..."
Response: Moody's has given Fairfax County's Aaa bond rating a negative outlook, due to underfunded pensions and spending $78.6M from reserves in FY2013 and FY2014 to pay for raises.
Campaign brochure: "Sharon will make sure our children continue to receive a world-class education."
Response: According to the 2015 ACT college admissions test results for Fairfax County, only 59% of the 4900 Fairfax County Public Schools seniors tested were prepared for college. The number prepared varies from 98% for Thomas Jefferson to 20% for Mt. Vernon High School. The variance is due to the Democrat-controlled school board's 30-year failure to raise Hispanic and African-American achievement.
Campaign brochure: "Sharon is committed to an efficient transportation network ..."
Response: Maintenance of the now unsafe and unreliable Metrorail system was neglected to build the Silver Line. There was money for the Silver Line (cost: $6B construction + $5B financing), but there was no money for fixing the I-66-Rt 28 interchange or widening Rt 7. Washington DC has the worst traffic gridlock in the nation.
Campaign brochure: "This past year, Sharon created the Ad Hoc Police Practices Review Commission ... to enhance public safety ..."
Response: The commission was established to divert attention from the supervisors' unexplained 17-month silence while the police department refused to disclose the details of the August 29, 2013, police shooting of John Geer, an unarmed civilian. Do the supervisors control the police department or does the police department control the supervisors?
Campaign brochure: Fairfax County will become a leader in mental health diversion to "... keep people suffering from mental illness out of jail..."
Response: Why did the supervisors wait until after the Feb. 2, 2014, death in the jail of a mentally ill inmate, Natasha McKenna, to start a diversion program?
The supervisors, who are up for election on November 3, determine real estate taxes. Higher real estate taxes mean higher escrow payments and, because landlords have to pay real estate tax, higher rents.
Between 2000 and 2016, the supervisors will have increased the typical homeowner's real estate tax from $2400 to $5700.
For the past 16 years, almost 70% of county and school spending increases have been for raises and benefits. Salary increases for about 30,000 school and county employees have averaged 4% per year for the past 16 years. Benefits include "Cadillac" health plans that will be fined under Obamacare and pensions with retirement at age 55 with 75% of salary.
Increased population, school enrollment, and more low-income and non-English-speaking students account for less than 30% of the spending increases.
Revenue from the real estate tax hikes was not enough to pay for the salary increases and benefits. So the supervisors cut staffing for parks and libraries, and the school board increased class size three times. That still wasn't enough, so the supervisors spent $79M from reserves for raises, thus jeopardizing the county's triple-A bond rating. Moody's has given Fairfax County's AAA bond rating a negative outlook.
In FY2017 the county and schools want to increase spending by $240M, of which 70% is for salary increases (4% for school and 3.5% for county employees), health care, and pensions. An argument for the 4% raises is that Fairfax County is losing teachers to Arlington County, which pays more. An alternative might be to use retention bonuses or merit pay. Paying all employees the premium required to retain the best employees is expensive.
Without a real estate tax hike, revenues are projected to increase by only $20M. To pay for the remaining $220M with a real estate tax hike would require a 9% real estate tax increase, which would increase the typical homeowner's real estate tax by $500 to $6200. A 9% post-election tax hike is possible if Chairman Bulova is reelected; there was an 8% real estate tax hike last year.
Fairfax raises salaries to compete with neighboring local governments, but our neighbors raise their salaries to compete with Fairfax. In this race, neighboring jurisdictions are also raising taxes faster than incomes and jeopardizing the Washington area economy. Arlington has higher real estate taxes than Fairfax County. IRS data shows that Montgomery, Prince Georges, and Arlington Counties and Alexandria City along with Fairfax County, are seeing a net out-migration of taxpayer Adjusted Gross Income.
Since 2000, real estate taxes have been increasing an average of 5.6% annually while county and school salaries increased an average of 4% annually. Now teachers and police cannot afford the taxes that were raised for their benefit.
Mr. Purves believes that raising real estate taxes faster than household income and a new meals tax, which Chairman Bulova supports, are unaffordable taxes that jeopardize the economic success of Fairfax County. Chairman Bulova, who describes herself as a "pro-business Democrat" believes that these tax increases are affordable. The choice is yours.
Increasing real estate tax hikes faster than household income jeopardizes the ability of the county's increasing number of seniors to remain in their homes.
The Fairfax County Economic Development Authority tax fact sheet takes six pages to describe taxes owed by a Fairfax County business. Also, Fairfax County's slow permitting and regulatory process discourages businesses growth and jobs.
Virginia is just one of a few states that still has a gross receipts (BPOL) tax, which requires businesses to pay taxes even if they lose money. Virginia itself has fallen from first to fourth in Forbes' ranking of business-friendly states.
Since 2000 FCPS enrollment increased 22% while the FCPS budget increased 100%. Even after adjusting for inflation FCPS spending outpaced enrollment 38% to 22%.
School officials say that since 2008 the school budget has been cut by $500M and 2000 positions. False. School budget requests were cut. The budget increased by $350M and 1000 positions. If school spending had increased another $500M, the average real estate tax would be $6700 instead of $5700.
According to the 2015 ACT college admissions test, only 59% (53% in 2014, 54% in 2013) of FCPS seniors are prepared for college. The number prepared varies greatly among high schools. Higher taxes do not improve achievement; better curricula would.
Commuters and taxpayers are paying $5B of the $6B cost of the Silver Line construction plus $5B in debt service, while landowners who have made billions from increased land values are paying $1B. Dulles Toll Road daily commuters saw their annual tolls increase $1300 between 2005 and 2014 and face an additional $600 toll increase in three years
Commuters face additional tax increases in the form of new tolls on I-66. The McAuliffe administration proposed I-66 tolls inside the Beltway that would cost the daily commuter $4200 annually ($9 eastbound and $8 westbound during rush hour) with no promise to improve roads. There should be no tolling of I-66 inside or outside the Beltway, even if that means there will be no road improvements. The taxes we already pay should be sufficient to cover transportation improvements.
Infrastructure is a casualty of overextended entitlements and an inefficient and expensive public education system. The Federal government built Dulles Airport and the original Metrorail system. Now there is less Federal transportation funding due to the increasing cost of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Similarly whenever state revenues increase, the money goes to Medicaid, public schools and colleges, programs that are growing faster than population and inflation but delivering poor results. Only 41% of Virginia seniors are prepared for college (2015 ACT results), college graduates have a difficult time finding jobs, and Medicaid reimbursement rates are inadequate for doctors, nursing homes, and caregivers.
Food stamp (now called SNAP) caseloads have doubled since 2008. While staffing for parks and libraries decreased by 112 positions since 2000, staffing for handling public assistance applications, such as SNAP and Medicaid increased by 145 positions to 354 positions.
On Feb. 2, 2014, a severely mentally ill woman was tasered four times and died in the Fairfax County Adult Detention Center. Only after this incident did the county decide to implement a jail diversion program for the mentally ill and remove tasers from the jail. Mental illness affects more than forty percent of inmates in the jail. Nevertheless the county considered and then abandoned a diversion plan in 2004.
The Board of Supervisors has chosen not to fund a $50M Five-Year Public Safety Staffing Plan for over two years since the plan was adopted.
Paid for and Authorized by Purves for Chairman. Updated 2/25/17