Tax Requirement In State Transportation Bill Sends Supervisors Scrambling - Leesburg Today Online—Daily News Coverage of Loudoun County, Leesburg, Ashburn: News

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Tax Requirement In State Transportation Bill Sends Supervisors Scrambling

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Posted: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:40 pm | Updated: 7:21 pm, Wed Feb 20, 2013.

Loudoun supervisors are scrambling this evening to get word to Loudoun's delegation that the transportation funding compromise that came out of the House of Delegates would have "dire" consequences for the county.

The bill would raise around $350 million for Northern Virginia, 70 percent of which would go to the region as a whole to be dispersed. The other 30 percent would be given directly to localities. However, there is a catch.

A provision in the bill would require localities to implement a countywide commercial and industrial tax—part of the 2007 transportation bill that came out of the General Assembly—to get any of that 30 percent.

That requirement would tax Loudoun out of competitiveness in the commercial market, supervisors said. Neither Loudoun nor Prince William has enacted a commercial and industrial tax.

The House is scheduled to vote on the bill tomorrow.

Supervisors debated the possibility of a C&I tax, as it is known, during its decision on Phase II of the Metro project. But since that tax can only be applied countywide—leaving businesses far away from the Metro line paying for the project—the board opted to create tax districts around the station. By doing that, along with the Rt. 28 Tax District, Loudoun is raising its own revenue for transportation projects, supervisors said, only in different ways.

If the C&I tax is applied on top of those two districts it would leave Loudoun with a tax rate much higher than surrounding jurisdictions.

"If you're in the two special tax district, that would be $1.74. Compare that to Arlington at $1.09," Chairman Scott K. York (R-At Large) said. "We need to strongly get this word out that this is absolutely ridiculous."

And get the word out they did.

As they broke before their public input at 6 p.m. today, supervisors immediately started divvying up the county's delegation in Richmond and calling each member to urge them to oppose that provision. The board also voted to take a formal position opposing the requirement and sent staff members to contact its lobbyists.

Supervisor Matt Letourneau (R-Dulles) said he spoke with one member of the delegation before today's 4 p.m. meeting, who raised concerns that the rest of Loudoun's delegation was prepared to support the transportation bill as written. That caused other supervisors to bristle. Supervisor Ralph Buona (R-Ashburn) read from an email from Fairfax Del. David Albo explaining that the C&I requirement was designed to avoid "unfairness" of one jurisdiction having a significantly lower tax rate than another.

"This is holding a gun to our heads and holding us hostage," Buona said, adding, "We fought long and hard to not do a countywide C&I. This is a countywide C&I mandated to us from Richmond because we have done a good job of paying for things in another manner."

As supervisors began to file back into the board room word was that language was being drafted to exclude Loudoun because of the other taxing measures it had already undertaken. But winning support for that change is far from certain, and the consequences in the eyes of supervisors was real.

"A C&I tax would significantly hurt our ability to grow our commercial tax base," Letourneau said. "To have it on top of Rt. 28, on top of Metro, would put our commercial enterprises at a real disadvantage."

Welcome to the discussion.


  • nrcbtm1 posted at 6:08 pm on Mon, Feb 25, 2013.

    nrcbtm1 Posts: 35

    Can Northern Virginia do what West Virginia did and form their own state?

    Like everyone else in the state, we are taxed to pay for state transportation projects. But none of those funds will go to Northern Virginia transportation needs? Instead we are taxed more to pay for Northern Virginia transportation. How does that square with the Constitution's "equal protection" clause?

    They use us and abuse us.

  • Frank Reynolds posted at 5:04 pm on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    Frank Reynolds Posts: 630

    Sold out again folks. Richmond doesn't care about us, and our "representatives" are impotent in advocating for us.

    So we want to push more of the tax burden on Virginia residents and businesses by shifting to the sale tax, letting all the MD and WV commuters who clog our area's roads off the hook, and then we're still going to go raid the general fund for transportation dollars.

    Then, in the final insult, instead of fixing the funding split where Northern VA gets pennies on the dollar back from Richmond, they propose we just pay more taxes to make up for what Richmond takes to redistribute elsewhere for roads to nowhere. They try and sell it like it is some sort of win for Northern VA and Hampton Roads.

    Don't rob me the cash I have on me and then shrug and tell me I can just go get more cash out of the ATM. The fact remains, you just took my money. The idea of me being able to get more isn't relevant.

    I'm not even against raising taxes. They should be raised seeing the last adjustment was in 1987. I just want an effective plan that doesn't keep raiding the general fund and gives Northern VA and Hampton Roads their fair share. I have zero confidence that any more taxes I pay today will improve my commute 10 years from now.

  • DanielD posted at 3:05 pm on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    DanielD Posts: 21

    There are lots of tax increases in the bill currently proposed. Sales tax, gas tax, vehicle registration, vehicle titles, alternative fuel vehicles, all would go up. Then there is no provision requiring that the money Loudoun pays in taxes will be spent in Loudoun, or spent wisely at all. So our gas taxes will likely be wasted on bike trails and buses in Richmond instead of roads or even buses here in Loudoun. It's a horrible plan from a transportation, economic, and planning perspective.

    But then again, Supervisor Ken Reid said "With rail, all you do is raise taxes."

  • loudoun parent posted at 8:28 am on Thu, Feb 21, 2013.

    loudoun parent Posts: 143

    I sincerely hope that our state representatives remember their responsibility to homeowners more than our supervisors do. Our supervisors do not generate reasobable tax revenue from business as it is. They need to get out of their pockets. If Loudoun has to raise the taxes, so do the neighboring counties, so the competition question would be irrevelent. It is a reasonable law and should be put into place.