Pay as You Go
It should have come as no surprise to county officials that the vehicle-tax reimbursement from Richmond would dwindle ["County Faces Shortfall in Vehicle-Tax Payments," Loudoun Extra, Nov. 17]. The repeal of the car tax was a popular pledge that helped Gov. James S. Gilmore into office, and now the localities have to deal with reality. We should expect our elected leaders to take a practical approach in finding creative methods to meet the shortfall. Raising property taxes is a regressive approach that will hurt all.
In the 15 years I have lived in this county, I don't think any developers or builders have put up a school or firehouse at their expense. (I could be wrong.) Yes, they have provided the land within the development, but we pay the cost of the buildings. Our road infrastructure is the same. I do know that the developer of Cascades paid the bulk, if not all, of the costs for the cloverleaf interchange at Route 7. Good thing it was built then, or we would paying the cost now.
Vision without partisanship is what our county leaders should have. With all the new housing we have in Loudoun, we should look at expanding tax collection at the time of closing. Not that anyone wants to pay additional taxes, but taxes as a part of settlement can be rolled into the mortgage and more easily absorbed over time. If you have a $1,000 new dwelling tax on each settlement, 6,000 new homes would cover the anticipated car-tax shortfall. You could also increase the building permit fees for new home construction at the same rate. Once again, the cost is built in. You might even expand this to existing homes and refinancings as a dwelling transfer tax.
If our elected leaders are going to endorse growth at all costs, then let's find the revenue in the growth industry -- development. Or at a minimum, think of new ideas.