Just to illustrate what happens when you unite around a politician (our Board of Supervisors Chairman) that follows the political winds instead of a set of principles.
This is what Shawn Williams’ website said BEFORE the stand-together-for-love-and-happiness convention:
Lower Taxes (Never voting for a tax increase)
“I am deeply concerned with rising property taxes squeezing families in Broad Run. During the last four years, the property tax rate has increased almost 40%! As your Supervisor, I will never vote for a tax increase, including backdoor tax increases through increases in assessments, and I will work to lower your taxes.”
This is what it says now:
Lower Taxes (Defer the tax base off the homeowner)
“I am deeply concerned with rising property taxes and dropping property values in Broad Run. During the last four years, the property tax rate has increased almost 40%! As your Supervisor, I will shift the tax burden off just the homeowners to a more level mix of homeowners and businesses. This will be done through intensified economic developement efforts.”
Now…one could argue that tax pledges are just childish nonsense anyway. The truth is, the goal is to get Government lean and mean enough to where a dire need for more revenue SHOULD result in a tax increase. I don’t see that happening really in our lifetime in Loudoun County, but perhaps I’m just a cynic, but if I believe that its one day possible to have a Government that only does what it has to and nothing else, then “eternal optimist” would be a fairer assessment.
That being said, let me translate what this really means. Before:
As your Supervisor, I will be very serious about cutting the budget so that the tax burden on our citizens and businesses is lower.
As your Supervisor, I am very serious about making sure we do not cut the budget and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get more businesses in Loudoun County to take the burden off the individual taxpayer.
Both are valid positions. But anyone with a brain in their head knows that they are COMPLETELY DIFFERENT. One position is a limited government position and one is a political position. “Hey if there are more business taxpayers, then everyone pays less!” True, but it means you never have to really get tough on the budget. You never have to make serious decisions about cuts. You never have to stand up to the School Board.
When times are good is when we need leadership to keep from wasting money. If there is any semblance of a recovering economy over the next two years then the “economic development” approach to the tax rate (by itself) is a recipe for a bigger and more cumbersome budget so that when times are bad, it becomes harder and harder to find ways to cut the budget.
Further down on his issues page Shawn talks about the Budget, so there is some tangential concern about “spending every dollar wisely” and reducing debt. But it stands that going from “lowering taxes” to “shifting the tax burden” fundamentally means less scrutiny on the size of the budget.
Shawn’s website is right about one thing:
Loudoun County needs an honest upfront Supervisor…
We just need to ask the question of whether he’s as upfront as he could be if his position on taxes has changed that much.