Roads To Nowhere

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More taxes generated for more roads that someone thinks we need. Who do these roads serve? I moved to Loudoun county over 30 years ago to get away from the metrpolitan area. I also took a job that was close to where I lived. What don't you people understand about "work where you live or live where you work?

My job is driving the roads in this area the majority of my work day. It has gone from bad to worse, especially since we don't have "savvy" drivers that know how help make traffic flow. What I see is a great "gaggle" (always liked that word) of cars on Rt. 7 heading to Tyson's and beyond. Then there is Rt. 28 towards 66 and on to points beyond. Fairfax County Parkway to 95. We built these roads for easement of traffic congestion when in actuality we have been creating a new breed of people...cake eaters!

Cake eaters are the ones that want the good pay but also don't like the hussle of the city. If they lived in Sterling and worked in Arlington, it took them 45 minutes to travel depending on where they were going. Widen the roads west and build new communities in the country allows people to move out an extra 10 or 15 miles and have the same time-frame commute. Until, that is, the roads get clogged again and now the commute is longer still.

I moved here from Fairfax over 30 years ago. My house and road was new. My work is 4 miles down the road. With traffic lights and traffic, the 5 minute commute to work is almost 20. My road was finally paved for the first time last year. Did they fix the cracks and broken curb? Not at all. The paving job lasted all of 4 months before those same cracks redeveloped.

The people working in our area and beyond come from West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania (and these are daily trips) and western and southern Virginia. Why? Good jobs and good pay. And they say they can't afford to live in Loudoun county which is one point that I can agree with. But I do live in Loudoun and I do work in Loudoun and I do pay my taxes and get by. Why should I be accommodating others to go thru Loudoun so that they can be cake-eaters?

My wife works by the Pentagon. She works a 13 hour day. Her commute is an hour each direction. She comes home, eats, gets ready for bed and then goes to bed. We don't have much "quality time" on the weekdays but this is a self-inflicted wound and she accepts it. If you want to live far away and travel to your job, this is a self-inflicted wound and you need to accept it. Or you can move closer to your job. You can telecommute or convince your place of business to move out in your area. What you can't do is have your cake and eat it too! Stop whinning about sitting in traffic if you live more than 15 or 20 miles from work. It's your choice and you need to change it to suit you. I don't want more taxes from this county government to fix YOUR problem. If we can't even take decent care of our own roads, why would we ever want to build and expand existing ones? The problem propogates exponentially. Mass transit-yes! Carpooling-yes! The county can even charge fees ffor those who use the park and ride lots we build to help MAINTAIN existing roads. But if you don't like the traffic problems and you are a cake-eater, shut up!

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Great observations, ACT. Lots of cake getting consumed in these parts.

suburbanite said:

Joe, a great deal of the cake is consumed by those who resist change in all its forms--including the changes that have been happening for years now. Where does everyone think our problems come from?

"I moved here _____ years ago and my commute used to be ____ minutes and my taxes were _____." No dispute. Also no guarantee that it would never change.

It is not realistic to expect that everyone is simply going to drive around Loudoun County because it used to be rural. Parts of it are very low density and still look rural, but guess what? HUD classifies most of the "farms" here as "lifestyle/residential". There are a few legitimate agricultural operations still functioning, but quite a few are heavily subsidized land-intensive tax shelters.

As the Metro area expands, land values are going to change. By restricting land use and service construction ("we don't need any roads, we're all farmers here") based on wishful thinking, we continue to exacerbate the problems. People move farther out for affordability, and cause greater congestion on the unimproved roads.

Some invitiation for the businesses that are supposed to relieve our tax burden, huh?

The "rural economy" has massive government support (staffing, advisory bodies, website, advertising and brochures) yet provides a minute percentage of our revenue, even if you count in (as many do) untaxed sales of horses and purchases of service in other counties related to horses (farriers, feedstores, etc).

Read the Assessor's Annual Reprt. Over THREE BILLION in assessed value is UNTAXED EACH YEAR for land use and open space deferrals. That translates into over THIRTY MILLION in revenue each year.

Land use requires five acres not counting your house and driveway, and the realization of an AVERAGE of $1000 GROSS INCOME (not PROFIT) over three years. Look up the concept of "value-add". It makes that $1K even smaller, because it means you can charge more for your lavender tussy-wussies if they are organic.

"Open space" requires that one have the same five acres plus be in an Agricultural and Forestal District. That certifies that the land COULD be farmed. Not that it is. Keep it free of weeds and your taxes are deferred.

The preceding board of supervisors put the whole scam together. They gave millions to campaign backers for PDRs, turned around and put the same folks on the REDC as well as made direct county improvements to some friends on the grounds that it was "rural economic development" (ask Eugene about the "commercial kitchen" in the private home in Catoctin), and created the tax shelters masquerading as an "economy".

What would $30M pay for cash each year? Two elementary schools? Most of a middle school? Half a high school? How many road improvements?

This is why Eugene is castigated for saying the east "subsidizes" the rural area. He could probably explain it better, but we spend a massive amount of money NOT supporting an existing rural economy, but enabling creative feel-good tax shelters.

And if the guy with ten acres, two sheep, and a 100 mile round trip commute is paying less taxes than the retired guy with a modest home in Sterling Park, Eugene has a point, doesn't he?

If the taxes are deferred in one place, they get collected somewhere else.

Most of the ranting you here on tooconservative (and now here) is a very expanded version of "Don't tax you, don't tax me...", and the suburban middle class is the guy behind the tree.

Dean Settle said:

And if the guy with ten acres, two sheep, and a 100 mile round trip commute is paying less taxes than the retired guy with a modest home in Sterling Park, Eugene has a point, doesn't he?

But he's paying EQUAL taxes, you dork. Fabrication will not get you past anything, Barbara.(my new word for anyone who doesn't make sense)
At the same time, he isn't sending the potential 88 kids to a school where they fill one whole grade by themselves. At the averages agreed upon by census makers, the sole land owner will send 2.2 kids into the schools from the whole ten acres. Schools, as you know (and I know you do)are 70-75% of the infrastructure that drives tax increases.
So, by keeping his land "rural", and thereby contributing .45 cents out of every dollar he pays in (which a. is equal to what someone in an equal appraisal in the residential corridors will pay, and b.will only get .55 back of his original dollar paid in in services)
Similarly, the residential corridor requires an additional .55- .70 cents to be added to every dollar that they pay in taxes on their homes, due in large point to the schools and all of those costs associated with them, as well as services from the county that the rural neighbors pay for on their own, such as sewer, water and trash pickup. We also do not call the rescue squad, fire house or sheriff's office with the frequency of the residential corridor.
Rural Loudoun is your buffer, suburbanite...not the log you drag around behind you. It keeps your taxes down. It does not inflate them. But I suppose your rhetoric is more important to you than facts that cannot be shot down or disproved.
The Cost of Community Services ratios are a tool used far and wide by many municipalities and counties across the United States to plan communities that keep taxes from eating the residents. I've thrown out the notion that Loudoun County is well overdue for a COCS study, and I'm not afraid to see what an honestly applied study will tell us...because I already know. Some of the current Supervisors are fully dedicated to blocking any such study because they are terrified of what it will show about their motivations and their actions for the past 4 years. When we win (rather largely) in November, I'm fairly certain that we'll get that study and prove what we've been saying all along/

suburbanite said:

Predictable again Dean.

I saw on tooconservative that you were accusing random people of being Munsey. Funny when one of them wrote back and you had to apologize.

Let's start with the idea of the "same" taxes. Yes, since the RATE is equal, the subsidized "farmer" is paying the same--ON HIS HOUSE. He's not paying at all on the rest of his land. His 2, 5 or 12 sheep don't go to school, but all the sheep in Loudoun don't begin to pay the cost of the biannual brochures advertising their existence (70K a pop at last count, along with the flower farms and ticketed stable tour), let alone the website about them, or the staff (and their benefits) that produce all of the above.

The subsidized "farmer" does not pay for the suburban residents' water, sewer and trash. The suburban resident pays for the water and sewer infrastructure when it is added in to the cost of their home, and then they pay a bill every month to the service provider. The HOA that new homes are now REQUIRED to have pays for trash and snow removal, so the subsidized "farmer" isn't paying for that either.

I think you may be as much in the dark about what a real COCS study might show as you were on Leesburg Today when you were raving about the bust of a polo event that you were positive brought "millions" in REVENUE into Loudoun.

The problem with the subsidized lifestyle apologists is always one of scale. For instance, traffic circles may be just fine in selected European examples, but the traffic counts here have long been surpassed in the locations they have been targeted for.

I don't think "You people shouldn't be driving here anyway" is a realistic answer, but that's the one that comes out in the end.

Same with the subsidized rural "economy". One thousand (or fewer) sheep may never go to school. Neither will they contribute in any significant way toward the service needs of more than a quarter million people.

Especially when they don't even pay for themselves in terms of county support services, because they aren't taxed either!

In many cases what we have now is large houses on large lots paying nowhere near their value because the County carries them as potential producers, with no impact.

Another flaw in your premise is that we only pay taxes on what we personally use. That would be fine in Utopia, but we aren't there yet. And you can't use that argument against the retired guy in Sterling, because he doesn't have kids in school either.

This doesn't even begin to address the "open space" ripoff, although the scam is founded on your flawed argument that "since sheep and flowers don't go to school, the acres and acres of land that a handful of them sit on shouldn't pay ANY taxes". "Open space" goes it one better--it creates an artificial vacuum and then defers taxes on it.

And it is an artificial vacuum in a metropolitan area, Dean. If they guy driving 100 miles a day is getting tax credit for creating all the clean air for the rest of us (and he is--look up the county documents praising the "air shed"), he can't get a total carbon footprint pass on his CHOICE of commute.

Sorry, but the way the system is structured there is no net positive "production" of anything economically significant, and a total pass on the traffic generated by the subsidized "farming" loopholes big enough to drive the obligatory Lexus SUV through.

Through and through at a couple thousand polluting miles a month in many cases.

Your argument boils down to "cake eaters are special", once you strip away the fallacious proof that it all works not only for free, but at a profit that carries unsubsidized taxpayers.

The profit is as private as the untaxed land.

Three billion a year untaxed. Thirty million a year uncollected.

Nothing produced that even covers the advertising.

That's why the squealing is so loud on the biggest proposed inequity of all: that all county representation should be primarily rurally focused.

More than two thirds of the people should not only PAY ALL of their taxes, but take an issues backseat to less than one third, many of whom DO NOT PAY ALL OF THEIR TAXES?

Because some cake eaters are really really special, and the rest of the cake eaters deserve a free ride too because they see the light (or the loophole)?

Yeah, I get it Dean.

Dean Settle said:

You thought that was an apology? No wonder you are so confused. You cannot even read.
I never apologise for that. If they act like a munsey, I call them one. There was no backpeddling or apology issued. READ IT AGAIN, but this time with the actual words.
On so many levels to sit here and waste my time .....
But I need PROOF that the Polo match was a bust, not your say-so. Perhaps a stroll over to economic development would do you wonders.
As for the rest of're so hopeless in hate and obvious denial about it that you're really a waste of skin AND my typing fingers. Have a nice day....somewhere else.

I say this because you skipped over half of the written facts and went on a fantasy cruise again, barb.

suburbanite said:

Thank you Dean, I won $5 from myself on your reply.

The bet was that you would not address any issues, but spew the usual anger, diversion, dismissal and denial.

There is at least one billionaire in Blue Ridge who was on the Federal farm subsidy list as recently as 2005. They are also in land use.

Care to discuss a sliding scale, where any tax benefit is based on PERCENTAGE OF INCOME earned from AGRICULTURAL PRODUCTS PRODUCED?

I doubt it.

That would not penalize people who actually farm for their living, and it would weed out the blatant cake eaters.

Then maybe we could discuss the 99% tax deferral for "open space".

If you have a case for pure cake, why not try to make it?

I have a hard time believing that the hands entrusted with keeping the entire Republican party on the straight and narrow are too fragile to type out any irrefutable facts you may have.

(chirp.....chirp...), as they say at toocon

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