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Stephanie Lundquist-Arora
Stephanie Lundquist-Arora
April 25, 2024 - 4 minutes
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Opinion

Fairfax County supervisors want to raise our taxes — and their own salaries

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora is a contributor for the Washington Examiner, a mother in Fairfax County, Virginia, an author, and the Fairfax chapter leader of the Independent Women’s Network. This piece originally appeared on Washington Examiner.


This week, concerned Fairfax County citizens spoke for several hours about increasing taxes and affordability problems at the Board of Supervisors’ budget hearings. A mother holding her infant child, for example, told the board, “We are certain we cannot afford to expand our family here in Fairfax County.”

The board is currently considering a budget that would increase taxes, on average, another $524 per household in 2025. This is notably on the heels of the excessively generous pay raises the board offered themselves last year. Chairman Jeff McKay, for example, voted in favor of his nearly 40% annual salary increase — from $100,000 to $138,283 — which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. He also has a taxpayer-funded vehicle.

According to the Fairfax County Taxpayers Alliance, since fiscal 2000, property taxes have increased three times higher than household income. The increase in tax burden is making Fairfax County less affordable each year — but not for people such as McKay, apparently, who can just raise his own salary. In fiscal 2025, the average household tax in the county will be $8,700.

More than half of the county’s revenue goes to its public schools. But looking at test scores, Fairfax County’s taxpayers are not getting a good return on their investment. In 2023, 25% of the district’s students failed their math standards of learning test, 22% failed reading, 43% failed writing, and 38% failed history.

Clearly, throwing money at the district’s education problem — learning loss caused by closing the schools for more than a year — does not solve it. But that doesn’t seem to stop the overpaid district administrators from asking for more. This year’s proposed budget for Fairfax County Public Schools is $3.8 billion — an increase of 8.6% from last year.

The county is paying for a rising number of administrators who are not even in the classrooms with our children, not to mention astronomical legal fees for the district’s negligence and leftist activism. The superintendent’s annual salary is $380,000, which is more than twice Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s (R-VA) salary and more than anyone in the federal Department of Education is paid.

Despite the school district’s inflated administrative salaries and flagrant spending, Fairfax County’s Board of Supervisors has not demanded an external audit of the school board’s budget. To Fairfax residents, it appears that they just send over the money without question, and then bill the taxpayers.

When Fairfax residents waited for hours and then stood in front of the members of their local council to share the burdens of this tax abuse, many of the board members couldn’t be bothered to listen. The mother holding her infant boldly called out their indifference. During her testimony, she said, “I see a lot of you are glancing at your cellphones or whatever else is on your screens. However, I have now sat here for an hour and a half, and I would like your attention while I’m speaking.” 

Following the budget hearings, a journalist approached McKay for questioning at his office about whether or not he would vote again for tax increases. McKay walked away without comment. The journalist then asked his chief of staff, Clayton Medford, if McKay would make time to speak about the budget. Medford replied with a simple “No.”

It appears that McKay was hiding in his office to avoid justified scrutiny from his constituents and questions from the press. But being an ostrich won’t help to solve the county’s budget woes. Fairfax residents need real leadership, budget reform, and fiscal accountability.

Stephanie Lundquist-Arora
Stephanie Lundquist-Arora
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