Your Views: A back-door tax increase

Your Views: A back-door tax increase
Mark Jinks' proposed real estate tax increase would go toward supporting school and city capital improvement projects over the next 10 years. (Image/City of Alexandria)

To the editor:

An article in the Washington Post on Feb. 19, 2020 states that Alexandria City Manager Mark Jinks proposed a two-cent increase in the property tax rate. The article further stated that “Jinks says he also wants to in- crease storm sewer fees by 4.5 percent and the refuse and recycling fees by 11.9 percent, yielding revenue that would help pay for government operations.”

Did Jinks mean that the fees would be increased to help pay for other general government operations or government operations related to storm sewer and refuse and recycling government operations only? If the city starts increasing clearly definable fees to support other government operations, then all transparency into what these individual fees are actually costing the taxpayers will be lost.

Property tax increases receive the most publicity and cause the most concern among taxpayers, while increasing fees receives less publicity since one would think that increases in storm sewer and refuse and recycling fees are related to increases in the actual costs to provide those services.

However, if increases in these fees go to fund other government operations, that is nothing more than a back-door tax increase that may go unnoticed by many taxpayers.

-Allen Tiedemann, Alexandria