The Cranky Taxpayer


High Taxes | High Crime | Lousy Schools | Obdurate Bureaucrats
Taxes | Revenue Effort

About the only thing you can do in Richmond without being taxed is breathe.

For the 2016 fiscal year, the City Financial Report (latest available as of 9/2017) shows $1.061 billion in governmental revenues.  Aside from the $180.5 million in "grants & contributions" (State and federal money that nonetheless came out of your pocket and mine, methinks), most of this came directly out of our hides (totals in $ million). 

Charges for Services 383.5 36.1%
Grants & Contributions 195.6 18.4%
Property Taxes 273.0 25.7%
Other Taxes 188.1 17.7%
Investment Income & Misc. 20.7 2.0%
Total 1060.9

Here are the same data in graphical form:

That $1.061 billion comes to about $4,816 per person, based on the 2015 population of 220,289.

You probably know about the real estate tax, $1.20 per $100 of assessed value.  If you own a house, you know about it in detail.  Then there's the tangible personal property ($3.70 per $100) and machinery and tools used for manufacturing and mining ($2.30 per $100).  As to the personal property, the State now pays a portion of the car tax (up to $20,000 of the value of the vehicle).  Of course, you pay state taxes to fund that, so it's still your money, laundered through the State.  You see the sales tax every time you make a purchase: 1% of the 5.3% tax goes to the City.  On top of the sales tax comes the 6% levy on prepared meals.

That's nowhere near the end of the matter.  You also get taxed (pdf at p.115) on your:

  • Electricity ($1.40 + $0.015116 per KW-Hr, not to exceed $4 per month)
  • Electricity consumption ($.00038 per kWh for the first 2,500 kWh; sliding scale above that)
  • Gas ($1.78 plus $0.010091 per 100 CCF, not to exceed $4 per month)
  • Business & Professional Licenses (depends on the business and gross receipts)
  • Motor Vehicle License ($23 on the first 4,000 lbs of car, $28 if heavier; sliding scale for trucks)
  • Admission to place of amusement or entertainment (7%)
  • Bank Stock ($0.80 per $100 value of the stock)
  • Lodging (8%)
  • Cable TV (5%)

Likewise they have commercial and industrial utility taxes and they get some folks for private utility poles, titling mobile homes, recording deeds, or renting vehicles.

So they do tax you for breathing if it's part of your profession, or laughing at a movie, or while eating in a restaurant, or while driving a rented car.

Here are the 2010-11 expenditures per the audit (in $ million):

General Government 134.9 13.6%
Public Safety & Judiciary 191.0 19.3%
Hwy, Street, Sanitation, & Refuse 87.2 8.8%
Human Services 81.1 8.2%
Culture & Recreation 24.6 2.5%
Education 175.2 17.7%
Transportation 13.0 1.3%
Interest & Fiscal Charges 26.6 2.7%
Business-Type Activities 257.9 26.0%
Total 991.5

Or, in terms of a chart:

Note that the school expenditure of $175.2 million includes some $40+ million (ca. 25%) that is being wasted.


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Last updated 09/22/17
Please send questions or comments to John Butcher