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Evidence – Free Assertions

By Bob Shannon – Central Garage

In the “Cost of Country Living”, headline article in the April 15th edition quite a few comments were made by County officials and others that have no basis in facts,  and this must be met with a measure of challenge. It began with the very first sentence “preserving the rural character of King William is costing the county about $1.2 million in annual revenue”  Let’s start there.

It should be properly stated that the cost isn’t to the County, it is to the homeowner and other businesses that have to make it up . Tax exemptions are tax shifting, always , and it is important to note that distinction in order to have an intellectually honest discussion.

” If you do away with land use their will be more land for sale” ?  What evidence can Mr. Piersa point to besides his theory ? If it indeed were true, then perhaps he can explain why King & Queen County is as open as it was 40 years ago, a County with no land use tax exemptions.  Parcels of land have been sitting idle in King William , some now for years , so it is clear that abundant land is already available, yet runaway development, the boogey man they always trot out to defend this tax scheme won’t play any longer.  Land , like any other asset in a free society allows the owner to use as they see fit. If it isn’t profitable to farm it, then rent it, sell it, develop it, or allow it to sit idle. That is a choice any property owner has , regardless if it is land or something else. Don’t ask others to subsidize your free choice . Farmers in counties without land use tax exemptions seem to be able to farm or engage in forestry and make a profit without the other taxpayers to subsidize their choice.

“We need to look at where the burden is and tax the burden”  . Using that logic then any childless adult in the county should be spared from paying for the burden, since a good portion of the county costs are schools, yet childless folks still pay the same rate as someone with children.  One might add that Federal farm subsidies, paid to many in this County to the tune of ten’s of thousands a year, the subsidies for crop insurance, the lack of any means testing  for land use tax exemptions, (while we means test the elderly and disabled ) isn’t taken into consideration in the discussion. Tax dollars are tax dollars and many of these folks crying poor mouth are doing quite well considering how many ends of the tax buffet table they have seats at. Farming is one of the most politically powerful lobbies , and if one wants evidence of it consider that almost every campaign sign of Congressman Wittman last election cycle was on large tracts of farm land across the entire 1st Congressional district.

Chair Terry Stone said ”  land use parcels ideally have less of a draw on county resources, warranting a tax deferral under the program”  Perhaps Mrs. Stone might then explain why the real estate tax rate in this county is so much higher than right next door in King & Queen, where farmers and foresters are doing just fine without this tax scheme. Measuring the draw on County resources is another example of a worn out justification, as is the “conserving open space” argument . New Kent  was cited as having a budget 1/3 larger than King William, but only 400 parcels and total tax exemption dollars of less than half what it is here. Do farms in New Kent or King & Queen draw more County services Mrs. Stone ? 

Commissioner of Revenue Sally Pearson cites that ” it would be hard for someone in the forestry program to hold on paying the full rate without seeing a return for 15 to 20 years ” ?   31 other Counties have no forestry land use tax exemption , yet seem to have ample numbers participating in forestry profitably, so why is King William somehow different ? Economically speaking entire industries have vanished in the U.S. the last 30 years and that is the natural evolution of a business cycle. When it was no longer profitable to make shoes here, the industry moved offshore. Why is forestry somehow an exception. Dr. Milton Friedman would scoff at such a suggestion. Political influence drives tax code, and it certainly is driving this.

Supervisor Moskalski also lends to the falsehood by stating ” the program has been beneficial in curbing too rapid development and preventing hardship on rural landowners trying to make a living with minimal impact on county resources”   Perhaps Travis might visit ewg.org and then reconsider throwing the term “hardship”, or “catastrophic” around so lightly.  Most people in this county have annual incomes less that just the Federal subsidies these down trodden receive.  Put the “rapid development ” lie to rest  as well Sir, it just doesn’t fly anymore. What is a disservice to residents in your district is your willingness to curry favor with your future campaign donors, and ignore the average homeowner who has had enough of this nonsense.

About Tom White

Tom is a US Navy Veteran, owns an Insurance Agency and is currently an IT Manager for a Virginia Distributor. He has been published in American Thinker, currently writes for the Richmond Examiner as well as Virginia Right! Blog.Tom lives in Hanover County, Va and is involved in politics at every level and is a Recovering Republican who has finally had enough of the War on Conservatives in progress with the Leadership of the GOP on a National Level.

One Response to “Evidence – Free Assertions”

  1. Sydney Moser says:

    Tax Exemptions in Hanover County for Land Use are nothing short of corruption. Don’t vote for Hanover County Commissioner of Revenue Scott Harris in November to send a message to him and the All Republican Board of Supervisors who support this nonsense and refuse to eliminate land use exemptions for their wealthy donors.

    Homeowners in Western Hanover and Far Eastern Hanover County have their YARDS in Land Use to avoid paying taxes on their homesteads. Unless you own a Farm or Timber in Operation as a Business- no land owner should have a Land Use Tax Exemption. Period. It is yet another example of redistribution of Taxes from the Rich to the Middle Class.

    Eliminating the land use tax exemption is not going to result in “development” of farmland. People are flocking to Hanover from the City of Richmond to buy 10 acres zoned AG to raise chickens, bees, goats and pigs. Preppers can’t buy land in Hanover fast enough.

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    Tom White Says:

    Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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