Supervisors Consider Tax Reform

Supervisors Consider Tax Reform

Board of Supervisors wants to study two legislative initiatives further before deciding whether to support them.

Supervisors have given preliminary support to about two dozen legislative initiatives, and most of them are new.

The board, however, recently held back on two measures until further study. One would prohibit the use of hand-held wireless phones while a vehicle is in motion. The other would replace a local tax on telecommunications with a state tax.

Lori Waters (R-Broad Run) said she could not support a cell phone ban. “My gut tells me, ‘No’. … I think big government has gone overboard,” she said.

She conceded a cell phone in a car is a safety issue, but she questioned what lawmakers would do next. “Are we going to ban (applying) make-up?” she asked.

Memory Porter, legislative assistant to the county administrator, said a bill addressing the issue has not made it out of committee, but “it is a growing concern.”

PORTER PRESENTED the legislative proposals at the last Board of Supervisors meeting Oct. 5. She explained the tax reform initiative would mean about $15 million in revenues would be transferred from Loudoun County to the state. She presented a proposal to ensure the state would replace lost revenues and address future revenue growth.

Proponents say rapidly changing technology for landline and wireless phones, plus cable, satellite television and Internet services, is creating the need for a uniform tax. Some providers have no taxes imposed and the landline phone companies have some of the highest taxes.

Jim Clem (R-Leesburg) backed the proposal. “If we tax one, we tax them all,” he said.

Waters countered, “I see this as a new tax, and I object to that,” she said. “Why should we tax these people too?”

Stephen Snow (R-Dulles) and Eugene Delgaudio (R-Sterling) also opposed the tax reform.

PORTER WARNED that the measure is probably going to receive approval despite objections. “This issue is not going to go away,” she said. “The problem is we may end up with a revenue gap that we could only make up with real estate taxes.”

Among the new legislative initiatives were moves to:

* Support greater flexibility to use cash proffers for transportation purposes.

* Allow local governments to collect and keep all truck overweight fines to support vehicle safety inspection programs.

* Permit local jails to be operated by a private company.