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March 19, 2013 · OPINION

Fauquier doesn’t need higher taxes on citizens

By Rick Buchanan

Great news! Government bureaucrats proclaim surpluses in their budgets and will be lowering our tax rates.

Sound too good to be true? It is.

Government officials NEVER have enough of our money. They ALWAYS need more of our hard-earned dollars, whether they are local, state or national bureaucrats. And never a one-time tax, they push a percentage increase that is a drain on our personal wealth in perpetuity (the quality or state of being ETERNAL).

Ever wonder why there is always the accepted need to push the rate of taxation up? There are two obvious reasons:

1) It is easier for government officials to sell the tax-paying citizen on the fact we need to pay more for those services we all think are essential than it is to do the hard work of finding ways of raising revenues through growing the revenue generators (translated businesses) with better physical and economic conditions. The conditions that are controlled by the very same government officials who are demanding more of our money.

2) We let them get away with tax rate increases without a fight, or even a whimper, over and over and over.

On the national political stage, we are now told being as much as $20 trillion national debt is “nothing to worry about” and that some debt is “Good for us.”

Their message: We need to pay more taxes so they can spend more; and “Don’t Worry, Be Happy.”

In Virginia, Gov. McDonnell and a few Republicans, of course with the help of almost all the Democrats, pushed through the largest tax increase in Virginia’s history: $6.1 billion. And, yes, you guessed it, it was an increase in the percentage of state sales tax. Think that is ever going away? Think perpetuity.

And why?

From the “leaders” who want to raise our tax rate to pay for infrastructure we hear the “We must fix our transportation system, just look at it” argument. What you do not hear is, since 2002, our “leaders” have pushed spending for transportation down 1 percent of the overall budget, from 10 percent to 9 percent. See the actual numbers here. That 1% equates to over $732 million just this year alone! If this was such a dire emergency that we must raise tax rates now, where the hell were all these “leaders” as transportation dollars dropped and our road systems eroded?

One more item to note before we move on to discuss our local government; Virginia government spending is growing three times the rate of population growth, while average weekly earnings of Virginians’ adjusted for inflation, has declined, and is below income levels in 1974, adjusted for inflation. Makes you wonder where the money is going. Another discussion for another day.

Here in Fauquier County, we are also being told by our “leaders” that we need to raise our taxes. And the method of increase? Listen for it. Here it comes…. Drum roll please.

A 1 percent to 3.5 percent increase in our property tax rates. Tah dahhh…

Why? Here it comes again…Necessary services we must have and that we can all agree we must have. But why do we really need a tax rate increase? I say we have had misguided leadership for years. Leadership that has been allowed to get away with stagnant revenue growth that would never satisfy our monetary needs. Why, one should ask, is this? There are powerful forces in the county who discourage growth of any kind. Growth even in the service districts that are designed to contain and promote the needed revenues that would prevent the very tax increases we are facing. I agree with a Supervisor who, when I discussed this with him, said “I am against tax increases, but we must pay our bills.” My dispute is where the revenue should come from.

Let me bring to your attention just two of the many examples of revenue-adverse leadership.

From the County website about the 695-acre Vint Hill development we read, “Created in 1996 by Governor Allen, the Vint Hill Economic Development Authority is responsible for guiding the redevelopment of Vint Hill, the former Army communications base. Led by a Board of Commissioners, and supported by a nine-member staff, the Economic Development Authority has identified two key goals for Vint Hill: job creation and tax revenue generation. The reuse plan for Vint Hill envisions an innovative technology park; research and development; complementary office, service and retail; residential housing and community services uses.”

After 17 years of “redevelopment,” take a look at the buildings pictured in this current Vint Hill promotional site. Please note that one of the two new buildings shown is so new it is not even built yet. The potential revenue loss for this development alone would more than cover the tax increase that homeowners across the county are now being asked to shoulder.

In another conversation with a supervisor, I was told of a proposed truck plaza in Opal. This site alone, when completed, would generate projected yearly county revenues of $750,000. How are our “leaders” handling this winner for the county? Some are proposing to delay until 2019 installing the necessary infrastructure (water) to allow this project to go forward.

Fellow citizens, it is time we all got involved in the details of the decisions made for us by our representatives. It is time we looked at the revenue side of the balance sheet and not just the expenditure side. We would not need supervisors who are forced to put the screws to every spending program if we had supervisors focused on bringing in the revenue generated by good businesses here in Fauquier. Growth is not, as some of the wealthy landowners and their environmental cronies would like you to believe, an evil thing. In fact, well-managed growth is the ‘rising tide that lifts all boats’.
It is time we put services into all the service districts. It is time we started looking some place other than our small landowners for the revenues needed to fuel the needs of Fauquier County.

Are you planning to come out to Warrenton Middle School, at 244 Waterloo St. in Warrenton, at 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, to get involved in this process?

The writer is a founder of the Fauquier Free Citizen website.
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PattiL · March 19, 2013 at 1:30 pm
Virginia is number 4 in the "America’s Most Corrupt States" article found here:
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