Letter: Tony Virgilio, Leesburg

Editor:  Your recent article on the Loudoun County Board’s proposal to increase real estate taxes for Loudoun homeowners while decreasing property taxes for data centers is a bombshell that needs to explode.

This board and previous boards have been strong advocates for the rapid growth of data centers in Loudoun County. They sold this growth to us with a promise that new data center property taxes would pay for a much bigger county government, new schools and increased services without increasing residential taxes. And over the years, the boards have made good on that promise. The real cost to the county has been an environmental disaster, clear cutting woodlands, disappearing farms, eliminating scenic viewsheds and even invading residential neighborhoods—all the things that made Loudoun beautiful—and replacing them with rows of massive monolithic concrete data center structures. But, to the Boards’ credit, fundamentally changing the character of the County for the worse has for the most part eliminated real estate tax increases for our growing population.

So now that the real physical damage has already been done to the county, and data centers and their industrial infrastructure are here to stay, it would be patently absurd for us to accept an increase in real estate taxes so this board can decrease property taxes for data centers to maintain some fictitious and completely arbitrary equity in tax sources. This board may be suffering from buyer’s remorse caused by prior boards, but that’s the deal the county made with the data center developers and that’s the deal we are stuck with. Furthermore, it’s just common sense that if they do cut the property tax rate for data centers, it will only encourage even more rapid growth and expansion of data centers across the county. So why give them a tax break unless you want many, many more data centers in the county.

If you’re going to make a deal with the devil, then at least be smart about it. Increase the property taxes on data centers until they stop building new ones and decrease residential taxes so people can better afford to live here. For all the taxes they pay, data centers don’t vote, (they don’t even employ many voters) but county residents do.

Tony Virgilio, Leesburg

5 thoughts on “Letter: Tony Virgilio, Leesburg

  • 2021-12-21 at 8:55 pm

    Data centers may not vote but the companies who own them do make contributions to PACs. Just follow the money.

  • 2021-12-22 at 7:02 am

    Pave over Paradise put in a parking lot literally!
    Please sign this petition. We already have had a response from Supervisor Briskman and need to keep up the pressure.
    Here is a link to stop the destruction at Bles Park.
    Nonpartisan issue that Takes less than a minute to sign.
    We are at 989 signatures in 3 days keep up the momentum and help save a natural wonderland.
    Write Randall, Briskman, Umstattd, Buffy, Kirshner and Saines [email protected] them to just vote NO on this proposal!

  • 2021-12-22 at 1:44 pm

    It is always positive when you invest time to better understand the topic you are talking about. For example, check out yesterday’s Washington Business Journal article “Here’s more evidence data centers rule Loudoun County, not that you need it”. Quotes include…
    * Let’s begin with tax revenue: Loudoun collected $1.53 billion in property taxes in fiscal 2021, an all-time high and an increase of $117 million over the prior year. Real property taxes accounted for $921.4 million of that total and personal property — largely a combination of the computer equipment found in data centers and the traditional vehicle tax — accounted for $563.2 million, or 36% of property tax collections.
    For comparison, personal property in Fairfax County accounted for less than 13% of that jurisdiction’s overall property tax collections last fiscal year.
    * The 2021 tax rate on that property, $0.98 per $100 of assessed value, has been repeatedly lowered, from a high of $1.235 per $100 of assessed value in 2012, due to the influx of data center tax dollars.

    One could assume based on this information that data centers have helped Loudoun County with important tax contribution and helping to reduce the tax burden on Loudoun’s citizens better than our neighboring Fairfax.

  • 2021-12-23 at 9:28 am

    How about asking the BOS to produce a list of priorities they will pursue allowing the residents and tax payers to judge their progress meeting stated and community approved goals? So far all we see is partisan based, virtue signaling non-events. (statues, road names changed and lots of preachy statements). In terms of fairness just ask the BOS why the Howard Hughes Institute with its well over $600 million complex (Janelia Farm) has its property tax waived every year. Politicians cry about the toll road (which a prior board approved) yet still assess the land all oof which is in Loudoun less that 1/4th of what they already refinanced it for. Anyone study finance in the BOS?
    Happy Holidays (and next time show up and vote in local elections) 🙂

  • 2021-12-27 at 10:21 am

    No matter how much revenue Loudoun generates, the BOS has had a spending problem that they have been unable to solve for the past 25 years.

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