Increasing property taxes and/or cutting County services are the usual suspects trotted out to deal with budgetary shortfalls. I have been a property owner in the County for over 30 years and have always found it irksome that those who rent pretty much enjoy the same County public services that I do but without paying for them [e.g., the parks, roads, libraries and schools]. Arlington County already imposes a Transient Occupancy Tax for each room or space rented in any hotel, motel or tourist home. I see no reason why an occupancy tax cannot be imposed on non-transient renters as long as the various policy issues such as uniformity and administrability are properly taken into account. Whether the occupancy tax is paid directly to the County by the renter or indirectly to the County via collection by the landlord and paid over to the County is something to consider. Ditto the level of taxation to be imposed imposed which may be means tested. An occupancy tax imposed on renters in the County would be a tangible way of alerting them that they too contribute to the maintenance and well being of the County. Whether any such Occupancy Tax would be used to reduce the imposition of other taxes already imposed on individuals and businesses in the County is an issue that is worth considering but even if it is not, the proposal stands on its own as a legitimate and fair way to enable the County to meet its obligations.
Idea No. 42