Terry Austin, who is seeking the Republican nomination for the 19th District House of Delegates seat, said opponent Jim McKelvey is distorting Austin’s record on the Botetourt County Board of Supervisors.
McKelvey has attacked Austin for the board’s vote last year to raise the county’s real estate tax rate to 72 cents per $100 from 65 cents, saying he would not cut government, as McKelvey promises to do.
Austin said that during his 16 years on the board, it cut the tax rate twice, by 5 cents each time, and cut spending several times before the loss of a major corporate taxpayer led the board to vote for the 2012 increase.
He said the choice was either to raise the rate or close a school.
“I believe taxes should be kept low — 72 cents is low,” Austin said. “When the need for more revenue became evident in this recession, and when we realized the choices ahead, we held public meetings, took public comments, and examined every measure possible before raising taxes. These are some of the difficult decisions facing elected leaders every day.”