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Budget Cuts Could Disproportionately Affect Northern VA

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Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette says a lack of new state revenue will force every Northern Virginia government to raise local taxes.
Jonathan Wilson
Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette says a lack of new state revenue will force every Northern Virginia government to raise local taxes.

By Jonathan Wilson

After sifting through budget proposals released by Virginia state Senate and House committees this week, county leaders in Northern Virginia say some cuts being considered could disproportionately affect their region.

Jay Fisette, a Democrat, is chair of the Arlington County Board. He's particularly worried about the House Appropriations Committees version of the budget.

The plan does not impose new taxes or fees. Fisette says he's concerned that means no new revenue either.

"That means they're going to dump that responsibility on us by definition. You're looking at every local government around here is going to have to raise the tax rate," says Fisette.

That may even include Prince William County, where the tax rate is actually lower than it was four years ago.

Board Chair Corey Stewart, a Republican, is proud of the cuts his county has made over the past few years and says the state needs to follow suit.

But like Fisette, Stewart is concerned about state cuts to public education.

State Senators have proposed $130 million in education cuts. House members call for cutting education funding by more than $600 million, and Governor McDonnell supports slashing education funding by $730 million.

"To the extent that there are cuts in the education sector, it needs to be cuts to administration and overhead, instead of cuts that hurt classroom instruction directly," says Stewart.

Stewart says education cuts often disproportionately affect Northern Virginia, where it costs more to hire teachers. He hopes state legislators make cuts in other sectors.

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