The Commonwealth of Virginia's Ultimate Blog

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

How serious is Tim Kaine about property tax rates?

The Kilgore campaign wasted no time in pointing out Tim Kaine's real history on property tax rates. It's a good press release, and I encourage you to read it.

I went and pulled the full R-TD article from 7/26/94. It's the article written after the city council raised property tax rates.
Property owners in Richmond who thought they were going to get a tax cutnext year, then thought they weren't, then absolutely knew they were --probably aren't.

At least that's the way it looks now, after an ordinance was introducedlast night to raise the city's property tax rate for next year back to whatit is this year.

City Council's latest action, sponsored by four newcomers and themayor, spins the tax yo-yo back to the top. It gives City Manager Robert C.Bobb at least part of what the old council, which left office less than amonth ago, took away.

If the ordinance is adopted in September, which is likely because amajority of the council co-sponsored it, the city's 1995 real estate taxrate will be set at $1.44 1/2 per $100 of assessed value. That is the sameas the current rate but 3 cents higher than the rate the council approved June 29.

That means the owner of a house worth $100,000 will pay $1,445 in propertytaxes next year, which is $30 more than if the cut had remained.

The increase will raise an additional $2.55 million over what the city budgeted. That will allow the city to put $1 million into its reserve fund.

Plans for the tax rate started waffling in May when Moody's Investors Service lowered the city's bond rating from AA to A1, largely because City Council had decided against putting a promised $2 million in the reservefund. Instead, the council came up with a tax cut.

Then the council discussed cutting the tax cut in half in order to put someof the $2 million back, but members finally rejected that idea.

That council is now gone. The new one is likely to eliminate the entire tax cut.

In addition to putting money into the reserve fund, the unexpected tax money will pay $844,000 for any short-term anti-crime plans the council comes up with at its summit scheduled for Aug. 9-10.

Bobb said other unexpected funding will include $500,000 to cover a deficit in salaries; $50,000 to Richmond Community Action Program; $5,000 to Central Virginia Legal Aid; $16,000 to the Daily Planet; $15,000 to GoldBowl; $20,000 to
the Black History Museum; and $100,000 to the ValentineMuseum, Riverside.

Mayor Leonidas B. Young, Vice Mayor John A. Conrad and council membersTimothy M. Kaine, Viola Osborne Baskerville and Anthony D. Jonesco-sponsored the ordinance.
The article largely speaks for itself. Mark Warner was able to create his own image. He had never held elected office. He had never cast a vote. Tim Kaine doesn't have that luxury.

Notice that Tim Kaine's partner in crime was Viola Baskerville. Part of me wants her to win the nomination. I can see the signs now: Let Kaine-Baskerville do for Virginia what they have done for Richmond.


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