Fairfax County School Board Passes Resolution in Support of Equal Taxing Authority for Counties

News Release
January 24, 2020

The Fairfax County School Board passed a resolution on equal taxing authority for Virginia counties at its business meeting on January 23.

“The School Board shares this priority with the Board of Supervisors, which adopted a similar resolution January 14,” said School Board Chair Karen Corbett Sanders. “Equal taxing authority for counties would broaden the tax base and reduce the overreliance on real estate taxes to fund necessary services, including schools.” 


WHEREAS, the local tax structure in Virginia has become outdated, as limitations on counties’ ability to raise revenues from diverse sources results in an overreliance on real property taxes to fund core local government programs and services; and,

WHEREAS, Virginia relies more on local taxes and revenues for funding government services than most other states and relying too heavily on one source of revenue leaves counties vulnerable to downturns in the real estate market and population shifts; and,

WHEREAS, under the Code of Virginia county governments have less authority to raise revenues to meet their responsibilities than do cities and towns, limiting counties’ ability to raise revenues through many sources available to cities and towns, including meals, cigarettes, and transient occupancy; and,

WHEREAS, providing counties equal taxing authority merely provides local boards of supervisors the ability to levy the same taxes that may already be imposed by city councils and each locality is best positioned to determine the appropriate mix of revenue sources to meet local needs;

WHEREAS, county governments have the same responsibilities as cities for the funding of core services, such as K-12 education, public safety, social services, and public health; and,

WHEREAS, state funding to localities has continued to decline over the last decade, as direct aid to localities was 52 percent of the state General Fund (GF) in FY 2009 but accounts for less than 44 percent of the GF in FY 2019, and K-12, the most critical core service shared by the state and localities, dropped from 35 percent of the state GF in FY 2009 to less than 30 percent in FY 2019; and

WHEREAS, additional tools to raise revenues would provide counties with options for investing additional funds in critical areas, including K-12 education, transportation, public safety, human services, and economic success; and

WHEREAS, state enabling legislation is required to provide counties with additional taxing authority; and,

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Fairfax County School Board does hereby resolve and express its support and desire for the Virginia General Assembly to enact such legislation as is necessary to authorize Virginia counties to exercise taxing authority equal to that of cities and towns.