Will PWC Property Taxes Skyrocket 15-20% ?

PWC Chairman Corey Stewart was on WMAL radio out of Washington, DC on Tuesday stating that $60 million is needed to address the influx of 2,500 new students into the school system every year that has led to the largest class sizes in the Commonwealth.  Stewart said that this would require a 15-20% increase in residential property taxes, quickly noting that other ways of bridging that $60 million gap should be explored.

There certainly is no need to further burden taxpayers with an additional 15-20% on top of what we already pay in property taxes.

Nearly 60% of all county tax dollars in PWC go directly to the school system under a bizarre “revenue sharing” agreement that is used almost nowhere else in the country.  When it comes to spending our tax dollars, the county school board is more powerful than our Board of County Supervisors.  Our elected officals, whom we elect to supervise our tax dollars (not to supervise us despite what some of them may think), annually abdicate this responsibility for more than half of the money we pay to the county.

The revenue sharing agreement between the BOCS and school system that does nothing but short-change our schools should be abolished.  The BOCS should instead ask the school board to present a budget to them that prioritizes reducing class-sizes and increasing teacher pay.  This will restore true BOCS oversight for the more than half of the county budget that it has turned a blind eye towards.  It will also provide the school board with a tool by which they can cut excess administrative expenses and various spending follies.

If Prince William County were to go to zero-based budgeting and build a new budget from the ground-up that prioritized public safety (police / fire / rescue), education (schools / libraries), infrastructure (roads / water / sewer) and our park system, we could fully fund these core services at the levels they need to be funded at while holding the line on taxes.

Gee, placing priorities on what you spend with limited funds.  Not a foreign concept for most families, but it certainly seems to be one for our county government.


9 thoughts on “Will PWC Property Taxes Skyrocket 15-20% ?

  1. you neglected human services in your lit o ‘priorities’………i take it that human services s/not be on the list of priorities…………..

    1. ?TYPICALLY? – isn’t human services everyone’s function? at least that is the case in my litte world………and, as Virginia ignores so much – you know…a good for business state………local govt has always picked up the slack……..

  2. How does reducing class size and increasing teacher pay address the budgetary problem of funding a school system? I would think those two goals, which I agree whole-heartedly are both laudable, would increase, rather than decrease, pressure on the overall education budget. Particularly if Mr. Stewart’s statement be accurate that the County’s student population is increasing at approximately 2,000 to 2,500 students annually. I haven’t studied it closely, but it sounds like to address these issues (i.e., class size, teacher pay and increasing enrollment) it is entirely possible that you will need some additional revenues.

    1. There are a LOT of efficiencies that can be instituted in the county budget if we prioritize things and that is where additional revenues that the school system may require can be found. Furthermore, there is the component of what housing is approved and built in the county. If we continue to be a magnet for housing that is not assessed at a level that pays for the services the members of that household consume, we will need more revenues beyond what we are already taking in.

  3. Has anyone bothered to find out why student enrollment is increasing so much? We haven’t had any major residential developments in the past few years as far as I can tell so its hard to explain why we’re in this situation. The BOCS is trying to bail out the fiscal boat without even trying to figure out where the leaks are. Sure, in the short term we need to expand the school system but we will never catch up unless we get a grip on what development and other policies are responsible for causing this and adjust those policies to make sure that enrollment growth is manageable.

    1. The problem IS development and until we have a just level of proffers we will always have the problems of overcrowding and need for more revenue

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