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The Cost of Development

February 13, 2013 by Blue Ridge Leader filed under Dear Editor, Opinion No Comments
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Both Malcolm Baldwin and David La Rock are wrong about their assessment of growth, the metro and the developer situation. Yes, the Metro will definitely bring lots of development. But the reason that the taxpayers are increasingly burdened for everything is that developers are paying less and less in proffers. We shouldn’t be paying for the metro at all, it should be paid for by the big developers because they will benefit the most from it.

Every state is now competing to woo commercial businesses by giving these companies millions of dollars in tax breaks because if you don’t do it, the next state will, so when the need for more roads, schools, and services are created when the jobs do come, the taxpayer is paying more and more for the needed improvements, much of it in the form of grants.

LaRock is, like so many other people who have never understood the value of open space, dead wrong about the “wealthy elites” with their large horse farms. That nonsense was spread around by the Right Growth Policy Institute through its contemptuous cartoons. Rural space never has and never will cost the taxpayer a dime. It costs the county 50 cents for every dollar it contributes, while housing demands $1.50 in services for every dollar collected in taxes. The real question is why growth is considered such a positive thing, since everyone seems to feel that the quality of life goes down when growth takes over. Five and six per cent growth used to be considered “booming”. Purcellville was growing over eleven per cent per year for six years during the housing boom. This rapid growth caused the crowding of schools, traffic congestion, light and air pollution and divided communities, not to mention costly and wasteful litigation with the county. Many people who lived through the boom have voiced concerns about the deterioration of that quality of life they found so attractive when they moved here..

It is difficult to believe that the Republicans who keep insisting that the government spend less, which means hire less, subsidize less, tax less, don’t seem to realize that what makes Loudoun so rich is in large part its extensive government connection. Any true constriction of government will cause the kind of pain our wealthy county has never experienced. Whether that’s good or bad depends on what kind of future you are looking for.

Uta Brown
Purcellville

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