So the big, rapidly expanding companies in Northern Virginia think the state needs an income tax increase to pay for transportation infrastructure [front page, Aug. 21]. No thanks. But here's a better idea.
If they think new infrastructure is such a great idea, why not raise corporate taxes? The developers who have made a fortune paving Fairfax County can pay their fair share and all these booming companies that need to build new facilities in West Pennsyltucky, Va., can certainly afford a few hundred million in new taxes for this worthy goal they have identified.
These companies are out of excuses. The economy is good, their profits enormous, their rate of expansion explosive. The ones that have benefited the most from growth should be the ones that pay for its consequences, and the boom that is leading so many businesses to expand provides the means to pay for it.
In addition, I would like to see a law that requires anyone building in virgin territory to purchase and maintain a similar-sized area within 10 miles of the new construction.
I, however, am not a developer and have no expectation that anyone will listen to me or any other mere citizens. One day, the grip of the developers on the politicians of Northern Virginia will be broken, and then it will be a hard rain that falls.
I emphatically disagree with the business group Region's advocacy of an extra sales tax to fund roads and schools in Northern Virginia. Perhaps these projects should be funded, but if so, let them be funded by land-value taxation.
When the government builds a road, the usual result is to make land rents and land prices along the road higher. People will pay more to live in a place from which they can easily get to jobs, shops, etc. Similarly with schools: People will pay more to live in a district with good public schools than in one where they have to accept bad ones or pay private school tuition.
The money people pay to enjoy these taxpayer-financed benefits goes mostly to private landowners, so let's recapture the money through land-value taxation (which we already have as part of the property tax, the other part being the tax on buildings and other improvements). Then we won't need to tax sales, incomes, etc., to pay for public works. NICHOLAS D. ROSEN