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Do your tax homework

Before a resident, business owner or landowner casts a stone against or for one of the proposed tax increases across Buckingham, Prince Edward or Cumberland counties, they need to understand the purpose for which county leaders have determined the need for the increase.

It’s simply unfair for a person to reject or applaud a proposed tax increase without first knowing all the facts, which we have published.

Buckingham is considering a 5-cent real estate tax increase, Prince Edward a 2-cent tax increase and Cumberland is proposing taking the personal property tax on airplanes from 50 cents per $100 of assessed value to $1.50.

Each of these proposed tax increases — notably Buckingham’s — would bring in additional revenue for the localities. What taxpayers need to understand are the projected increased expenditures or decrease in revenues to justify the tax increases.

Each county is struggling with its own financial issues. Supervisors in Buckingham are anticipating increased expenditures and want to maintain a healthy fund balance and reserve, Prince Edward officials began the budget process with a $1 million deficit, and leaders in Cumberland are seeking to make their water and sewer fund come into the black from being in the red for so long.

School funding is another point of contention.

The same applies to school staff — before casting stones, make sure you understand the reasoning behind the proposed budgetary recommendations.

Both supervisors and advocates for increased or decreased taxes or spending must keep an open mind and possess the ability to compromise to have successful budgets — documents which will drive decision-making for the next 12 months that will affect every county citizen, student and taxpayer.

Jordan Miles is the managing editor of The Farmville Herald. His email address is jordan.miles@farmvilleherald.com.