DEVELOPMENT VS. TAX INCREASES
In 2006, Gov. Kaine asked me to introduce HB 1610. The current practice of first building houses, then increasing real estate taxes to pay for all the necessary infrastructure is unfair to taxpayers and keeps Virginians sitting in traffic.
HB 1610 allowed a locality to deny new subdivisions if existing roads or mass transit were inadequate to handle traffic generated by the new development. However, if the developer agrees to pay for the improvements, the county would allow the development to be built.
The Virginia Home Builders lobbied heavily against HB 1610 even though it addressed re-zonings only, not the many thousands of previously zoned lots. I predicted that failure of HB 1610 would make a transportation tax increase more likely. (That happened with HB 3202 in 2007, and with HB 2313 in 2013.)
Governor Tim Kaine said it was a waste of money to increase taxes for roads without addressing development issues. I agree.
I expected HB 1610 would lose in committee, but I found a way to revive it. At one point Governor Kaine initially supported my effort to amend my bill, HB 1192, which had passed the House with language from HB 1610. It appeared we had the votes to pass it in the Senate Local Government Committee, but the home developers told the Governor that they would not support his proposed tax increases it the Governor supported my bill. The Governor removed his support and the measure was defeated.
Builders obviously provide a service to citizens and they are entitled to make a profit in their business, but I believe they should be more willing to bear more of the infrastructure costs otherwise, “we the taxpayers” end up footing more and more of that bill.