Leesburg Today: “Work v. Rhetoric”

Leesburg Today had a little-noted, but spot-on editorial in last week’s edition. It’s worth quoting in its entirety.

Work v. Rhetoric

The wringing of hands over the Board of Supervisors’ efforts to set the upper limit on County Administrator Tim Hemstreet’s advertised real estate tax rate provides an early illustration of the pitfalls inherent in the formulation of an election-year budget. The advertised tax rate has no impact on the final budget outcome. Supervisors can, in fact, adopt a higher rate; state law requires only that it be re-advertised. The only thing that can make a difference is a collection of five votes. Those truly interested in cutting taxes would be better served by investing time in the research and coalition building needed to win those five votes. In November the candidates should be judged by their ability to get things done, not by the number of speeches they make condemning the actions of those who do that work. – Leesburg Today


(Though it is worth noting that the Board of Supervisors can also enact a lower rate than the $1.33 advertised, and without re-advertising rates. Go read Supervisor Miller’s excellent tax rate  explanation to learn more.)

For three years, our Democrats on the Board of Supervisors have dedicated themselves do doing that work. We have managed growth, built schools, finished roads, planned our energy future, and kept the County’s budget balanced and our credit rating high through it all.

Something to keep in mind this year.

8 thoughts on “Leesburg Today: “Work v. Rhetoric”

  1. Dave Nemetz

    In 2008, assessments were down 9%.

    In 2009, they were down 12%.

    In 2010, down 3.3%.

    In 2011, up 2.75%, So a property valued at $400,000 in 2007 is valued at $318,000 in 2011 (on average).

    Yet we still need school teachers and administrators, emergency services personnel, public safety, libraries, road maintenenance, etc., with costs rising each year, and the main source of revenue is property taxes. With a net 20% drop in home values over the past 4 years.

    So tell us all how you propose we pay for all of this with “lower taxes”.

    Oh, and by the way, an “average” tax bill means some pay more, some pay less. That’s how the law of averages works out. Some years I pay more. Some years I pay less. In the end, it all evens out, because we have a pretty damn good quality of life here in Loudoun.

  2. Paradox13

    It’s not the rate that matters, it’s the overall tax burden. And that hasn’t gone up, or down, per se. some people pay more, some pay less. The actual tax burden varies greatly by individual circumstances, because the Board has done their level best to keep it equitable and reasonable in the face of economic downturns, revenue shortfalls and an ever-expanding legal requirement to provide education and basic services to the fastest-growing population in the state.

    It’s nice to sit on the sidelines and snipe, but when it comes to the hard business of governing, I fail to see how “lower taxes” is an actual solution to any of the realities we face as a County.

    Prescribing lower taxes in Loudoun County in 2011 is like prescribing leeches for pneumonia. Reality, facts and proven answers have long-ago surpassed such a simplistic and feeble understanding of our difficulties.

    Come to the table with an actual solution, and plan, that accounts for the growth in our schools, massive increase demand for county services and decline in our revenue base, and we can have a conversation about what’s best. Without such a plan, your position is merely fantasy.

  3. Guest

    Okay, so we’re second highest.  Still nothing to be proud of, especially with such high property values to begin with.  

  4. stevensrmiller

    We do not have the highest tax rate in the state. Prince William does. They hide it by splitting their fire-and-rescue tax apart from the rest of their taxes. We don’t do that in Loudoun. If you add Prince William’s two tax rates together to get the rate equivalent to what Loudoun charges for the same services, you can see that.

  5. Guest


    My tax bill went up from 2009 to 2010 as well as 2007 to 2008 — and so did yours.  Also, keep in mind that we have by far the highest tax rate in the state.  THOSE are the facts.

    You’ll also recall that one Democrat on the BOS voted against the tax hike because it wasn’t high enough.  The Republicans also voted against it, but because it was too high.

  6. Liz Miller

    You know better than that. Average tax bills in the county have gone DOWN for the last two years.

    The BOS, which has a majority of Democrats on it, LOWERED the average tax bill for the last two years.

    AND had a surplus at the end of last year. AND built schools and Sheriff’s substations, and a jail, and fire houses.

    AND maintained our triple A bond rating.

    You may not like them, but those are the facts.

  7. Guest

    It’s easy to balance the budget when all you do is raise taxes. The real work that hasn’t been done by the Dem majority on the BOS is keeping taxes under control by making tough budget decisions. Indeed, if the “work” you reference is simply increasing the tax rate (and the actual tax amount) in an unprecedented fashion, then I’d say their work, and political careers, are done.

    Lloyd the Idiot

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