circa 1999

Rising Taxes

If you are trying to understand why our taxes go up every year while our county and state governments make decisions that are in conflict with our desires, read the newspaper. The wife of a Bealeton Realtor collects 700 signatures in support of VRE service to Bealeton; for years officials have known that crowding in the county’s four middle schools would pose a problem; new subdivisions are appearing across the landscape; large commercial enterprises get preferential treatment; and developers, including homebuilders donated $167,500 to General Assembly members during the last half of 1998. These tidbits of information and many more like them will continue to occupy the pages of our local newspapers until we, the voters of Fauquier County, get proactive.

The people who derive their income from developing our county have some very influential lobbyists. Their point of view prevails because of their influence through their constant presence and their promise of financial support to buy public exposure for people running for office. They are organized and forceful because their incomes depend on it. Well our lifestyle and our after-tax income depends on them being unsuccessful! And there is one critical thing that they can not directly offer people running for elected office – VOTES.

And there is one thing that they are the most fearful of – Impact Fees, fees developers must pay that would prevent development in areas not equipped with schools, streets and sewers to support it. Look beyond the spin doctors, this is not about controlling growth, this is about people who benefit from growth paying for growth. Impact Fees are being initiated in communities all across the nation. If an area can not support an influx of new residents without growing the infrastructure, the developers pay for the infrastructure improvement. Does some of the cost pass to the person buying the new housing unit? Certainly, but taxpayers don’t have to subsidize their purchase. Basic economics dictate that anyone entering into an act of commerce should expect to pay a fair price for the product they purchase. A fair price is the total cost of the purchase which should include all associated costs so no external subsidies are required. Impact Fees make this possible.

When you are deciding whom to vote for, ignore party labels and instead ask the candidates to take a position on Impact Fees. Listen to the answer carefully because any answer but a clearly stated yes is really no. Support the people that say yes and, after they are elected, follow their actions and reward them with continued support for holding their position or withdraw your support if they don’t. The alternative is more of the same taxpayer-subsidized growth and I submit that the county we envisioned when we moved here will no longer exist here.

Rex A. Hoover