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Opinions » Poll

Do you support Fauquier’s broad application of “land-use” tax breaks on rural land?

The county reduces real estate taxes on almost 200,000 acres in agriculture, forest and open space categories to encourage conservation. That represents about half the county’s land mass and represents $13.7 million in tax “deferments” this year.

Disclaimer: This poll represents an unscientific sampling of users.
Select one of the following options, then click the "vote" button.
  Yes
  No
  Undecided
(269 Votes)
Member Comments (4)
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KrisTay
May 22, 2018 at 3:24 pm
There isn't a lot of information contained within the poll question, so I needed to look up more info before I could vote. This webpage by the Virginia Cooperative Extension is pretty helpful:

A Citizens' Guide to The Use Value Taxation Program in Virginia
https://pubs.ext.vt.edu/448/448-037/448-037.html
sgtiesll
May 22, 2018 at 3:00 pm
@martinkus - That talking point is not valid when you understand the inner dynamics of Fauquier. We will never be like one of those counties. We have poor soils in the southern end of the county, we lack water and sewer service to support large developments. We have large amounts of conserved/protected land that can never be touched, there are large amounts of FEMA flood areas (no building allowed), parks (state, local, federal), not to mention all the historic designated districts. On top of all of that, strict zoning that doesn't allow for large developments. We also can't forget PEC and VOF fighting every development proposed in the county. So we will never look like Prince William or Loudoun. We should be asking why all the new business are going to Culpeper and surrounding counties and skipping over us. Many people leave this wonderful county to spend money and time in our neighboring counties because they have more to offer. Conservation easements are wonderful thing and the benefits can be great for some but not for all. I pay more in land taxes on small acreage in the county than someone who owns 100+ or more acres with an easement. @ Demosthenes- you are on point with your comment.
martinkus
May 22, 2018 at 9:42 am
Just look what is happening to Prince William and Loudoun Counties. Do we want that kind of massive growth in Fauquier? I hope not!
Demosthenes
May 22, 2018 at 5:44 am
Imagine if someone told you we needed more people collecting unemployment compensation to better our economy. Think of the benefit for all of us - less people would be on the roads during the morning commute!

The above scenario would strike most of us as absurd. It doesn't make sense to pay people to be unproductive.

Our tax breaks for land that goes unused as "open space" fits the same level of sanity. People argue that unused land is good because it doesn't use up public resources. On the other hand we should also see it as a waste, because then potentially productive land has been incentivized to not produce things.

I'm not opposed to tax breaks for farms. But giving out tax breaks to those who can afford an estate with unused land makes no sense to me. If that land had to be used at least in some form of agriculture to get the tax break, then perhaps young farmers in the area would at least be able to find farmland for rent so that they could get started in agriculture. There could still be plenty of open spaces, but they would be productive ones and not just someone's personal tax-free playground.
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