Letters to the Editor

Have an opinion about the local media's failures or successes? Lousy politicians and overpaid, useless public administrators (an oxymoron)? And where they should go? Other topics? Or just want to sound off? Send them to us. Your comments should be bright, brief and relevant.

LETTERS POLICY: Your letters are welcome. They may be edited. VNS reserves the right to select letters that will appear on the web site, but editors will take a liberal approach to the First Amendment of the Constitution in allowing readers to express their opinions. VNS isn't confined by space restrictions and editorial whims that govern other media's editorial policies.

All letters should be emailed to editor@virginianewssource.com and include your daytime telephone number.

Opposing opinions are welcomed.

Time for taxpayer revolt - VB food tax is 9.5% ?

June 19, 2001

Editor:

Below is a receipt I received this morning from Hardee's for a Sausage & egg biscuit. If you notice I paid eighteen cents ($0.18) Virginia Beach food tax or sales tax on $1.89 worth of food. Don't you think that's ridiculous, unimaginable, beyond normal human imagination? Just think, the Boston Tea Party came about over a 3% tax. 

1 Sausage Egg  $0.59
1 Senior Coffee  $0.30
Sub Total  $1.89
Tax  $0.18
Total  $2.07

What gives the city the authority to increase real estate taxes?

First: It starts with increases in property assessment to quietly squeeze citizens for additional taxes. The City of Virginia Beach conducts assessments every year. Virginia's Constitution says at least every two years. Read below:

58.1-3250. General reassessment in cities. 

In each of the cities of this Commonwealth, there shall be a general reassessment of real estate every two years. Sections 58.1-3258, 58.1-3275, 58.1-3271, 58.1-3276, and 58.1-3278, and other relevant provisions (read state law yourself ... Click here )

 

 

of law shall be applicable to general reassessments of real estate in cities. Any city which has a total population of 30,000 or less, may elect by majority vote of its council to conduct its general reassessments at four-year intervals. No provision of this section shall affect the power of any city to use the annual or biennial assessment method in lieu of general assessments.

Second: When assessments go up a certain percentage, by State law, City Council must reduce the tax-rate (a certain percentage) so that citizens are not paying extra taxes as a result of the increased assessments. In other words, your real estate taxes do not increase.

Unfortunately, the Mayor and Council has always over-ruled State law and increased the tax-rate to the previous year level, thus the result is increased real estate taxes every year.

For example, "The Beacon" dated Sunday, April 8, 2001, page 21, shows a "Notice of Proposed Real Property Tax Increase and Public Hearing." Read paragraph one (1) which reports the increase in
assessments on an average of 4.25%. Read paragraph two (2) which reports the mandatory by State law to decrease the tax-rate so that citizens are paying the same amount of property taxes compared to last year, even though the assessments went up.

Note paragraph three (3) which reports the increase in tax-rates and this is the whammy! For 2002 fiscal year (starts July 1st), the effective tax rate is increased significantly

On top of this, the Mayor and City Council will report to the citizens that there has been no increase in real estate tax-rates. They will blame the increases in taxes on assessments. They will remark: Don't you think your land and house is worth more this year? Shouldn't your land and house increase in value every year? The answer is yes, but City Council does not need to over-ride State law friendly to citizens and vote for a increase (re-establish) in tax-rates which then increases your real estate taxes! City Council votes on increasing your real estate taxes!

Hopefully, one can understand from the above how our Mayor and City Council are developing creative, if not deceitful, tax methodologies specifically designed to circumvent constitutional provisions and bypass the will of the taxpayers.

Join the Thalia Civic League to strengthen your effort to be vocal on issues. Citizen power
through numbers. Lets fight together to stop tax increases! The more than one billion dollars (over $ 1 Billion) budget should cover all city expenses.

Reginald S. Early