Letters to the Editor: July 4 – 10, 2019
Mayor’s Testimony on SALT Was Misleading
Mayor Tarter’s testimony before Congress, attacking the cap on the SALT deduction was disingenuous and misleading. The cap takes no funds from the City; rather it makes it more difficult for the city to raise already steep property and other local taxes because of likely outrage from city property owners no longer able to fully offset local taxes through the Federal SALT deduction. The cap impacts only high earners in high tax states and the deduction itself is a subsidy by middle class residents of low-tax states who effectively pay higher Federal taxes to make up for losses through the SALT deduction.
The benefits of the deduction go to the top 20 percent of income earners with the most benefits going the top 1 percent. Lifting the cap would also reduce Federal revenue by $600 billion over 10 years.
James P. Callahan
Tarter Testimony Only Tells Part Of the Story
Mayors Tartar’s crybaby Congressional testimony told only part of the story. That part was what a problem that one of the richest communities in the United States has because of SALT. The untold part of the story is that with the decrease in Federal tax rates, a taxpayer could easily end up with the same or less of a tax bill in 2018 than 2017 on the same income.
My wife and I lost $18,000 in SALT deductions but our Federal tax bill for 2018 was less than 2017 on the same income. From listening to the Democratic presidential candidates, with whom the majority of Falls Church residents agree, I hear that the real problem in this country is the failure of the high income people to pay higher taxes. What gives?
Tarter’s Testimony A Weak Argument Against SALT
Congratulations to David Tarter for helping to write one of the platforms in President Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. First off, at no point does he point out what the SALT (Federal “State and Local Tax”) deduction actually is — it allows high income residents in high tax localities to deduct their state and local taxes from their federal income taxes. Or simply, if you have to pay high local taxes, you get to make somebody else whose income is less than yours help to pay your high state and local taxes.
Tarter goes on to point out that we must pity those who Iive in $825,000 homes who do not like being asked to contribute their fair share to society. He raises fair points about the city’s costs and its residents’ tax burdens, but never answers why the burden is the rest of Virginia’s responsibility?
The weakest part of his argument is suggesting that SALT is an “unfunded mandate” and that it instead of “reduced taxes… they are merely shifting the burden downstream.” First, an unfunded mandate is an expenditure that does not have designated funding. Exactly what program is SALT funding? And how is shifting the tax burden from the wealthy to the poor sending the burden downstream?
Perhaps instead of complaining about non-Falls Church residents who don’t want to pay taxes to support Falls Church, maybe instead Mayor Tarter should find a way to balance his budget without people whose homes cost less than $850,000 to subsidize Falls Church?
Hope F.C. Protects Green Areas Amidst New Development
I have lived right outside of the city limits of Fall Church City for 20 years. The quality of life in this area is great and I look forward to all the exciting changes the new development projects in Falls Church City will bring. But I hope that the character and rhythm of The Little City will not change.
Besides new construction, I wish the city would also prioritize protecting its green areas. This is one of the things that makes the area attractive, and I am afraid that all the big buildings to come will never compensate for the loss of trees. As an example, consider the long stretches of trees and grass that flow on both Haycock Road and Route 7 starting at their intersection. Is there any way the city could keep those areas green instead of being paved over, and just redevelop what is already developed?
Deforestation is an enemy of life on this planet and one million species are in peril due to climate change. Falls Church City is well known for being a progressive bastion, so I hope that the city can lead by example and save as many trees as possible while still pursuing its goal of being a vibrant place to live.
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