To the editor:
Two submissions to the Alexandria Times about the proposed commercial add-on tax caught my eye: Tina Leones Kill the commercial add-on tax (February 10, 2011) and Bud Millers Donley does it again (February 10, 2011) because of similarities in logic.
Both writers objected to taxes proposed and charged by the city. Ms. Leone objected to businesses paying the lions share of the citys tax burden, and Mr. Miller berated Vice Mayor Kerry Donley for what he described as high taxes.
Im no tax man, but I do understand that real estate taxes (which comprise the majority of Alexandrias revenue) are calculated based on the value of an individuals or a businesss property value. Business is good and customers are plenty in Alexandria.
An interesting fact: the projected budget for fiscal year 2012 expects that personal property taxes will comprise 32.5 percent of general fund revenue while commercial property taxes will only contribute 25 percent. People are paying less than businesses even though Alexandrias retail sales topped $2 billion last year and tourism carried the city through tough economic times. Talk about the lions share of the profit. Businesses have everything to gain from increased and improved transportation infrastructure. Why shouldnt they pay for the privilege of profiting?
To Mr. Millers complaint of high taxes and wasteful governance, I point to the Bureau of Economic Analysis 2008 estimate of Alexandrias per capita income at $70,000-plus. Property and food are expensive here because some Alexandrians make a whole lot of money. Rather than argue about high taxes, we need to expand the tax conversation beyond real estate value to look at income. Fair taxes would be calculated based on who brings home the lions share.
The mechanisms of government be they taxes, budgets or laws speak to the nature of the city in which we live. If we truly support people and community, then our governance must reflect those values.