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City of Alexandria, VA City of Alexandria, VA
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Tina Leone (user 194) - Comments by Date

February 9, 2010

RE: Proposed Commercial Add-on Tax

Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Council Members,

We represent nearly 860 businesses in Alexandria. We urge you to protect our businesses and promote economic growth by rejecting any increase in the commercial property tax.

We believe this tax is not right for Alexandria.

We are different than our neighbors, Arlington and Fairfax County. We agree that Alexandria must be a party to such a regional transportation system in concert with our neighbors to alleviate traffic congestion, to introduce new modes of eco-friendly transit and to foster future growth to and along commercial corridors.

However, we are unlike our neighbors who have many large, national and international corporations to help shoulder the burden of transportation costs. Our business tax base is predominantly comprised of small, locally owned and operated businesses that subsist on narrow profit margins. Over 90% of the City’s 9,000+ businesses have fewer than 20 employees. To expect small business owners to bear tax burdens in a manner similar to the way our neighbors tax their businesses is unrealistic. It is also potentially crippling to the businesses that foster the unique charm we have in Alexandria which is craved by residents and promoted by the City.

Commercial properties also make up a smaller portion of our tax base- relative to residential properties- about 45% of the total number of parcels in Alexandria. And when you remove apartments (since this tax won’t apply to them), the percentage is much smaller. Instead of harming the small businesses that make up our commercial tax base, we ask you to focus on expanding our tax base through thoughtful development and diversifying business uses so that there is an adequate complement of larger businesses that can then pay their proportionate, larger share of taxes. Imposing a commercial add-on tax now will merely hurt existing businesses and discourage new businesses from relocating to Alexandria.

We ask you to consider seizing the opportunity to market our City as a tax haven for businesses and a more attractive option to locate a business as compared to our neighbors.

We also believe this tax is inequitable.

We understand that transportation improvements, in the form of roadway improvement projects, new public transit systems and roadway maintenance, represent one of the most critical needs facing the City. We support these improvements and we are willing to pay our fair share. However, funding these needs cannot be borne solely by the business community.

Transportation is a core public service provided by the City. It is well-established that commercial properties require substantially less services from the City than do residential properties. Yet under the City’s current taxing structure, commercial and residential properties are taxed at an equal rate. Thus, commercial property owners pay proportionately equal taxes for fewer services than residential property owners. Residents and businesses alike will benefit from transportation improvements, and thus, the funding of such improvements should result from a uniform tax rate.

Finally, we believe this tax is not the only tool available to the City to fund transportation improvements.

The Chamber recognizes the City’s need to generate sufficient revenue to solve its transportation problems. However, the imposition of a commercial add-on tax cannot be supported by Alexandria’s small business base. Rather, transportation improvements should be funded through general fund revenue or through localized tax districts that raise funds for transportation improvements in connection with new developments.

You have established a precedent for dedicated funds raised through the general real estate tax base in its creation of an open space fund. A similar dedicated allocation of general revenue funding may be established for transportation infrastructure improvements. You also have the ability to issue general obligation bonds to fund transportation improvement projects. As a supplement to this dedicated revenue source, there are the funding options implemented in conjunction with the North Potomac Yard Plan, in which special tax districts create an additional dedicated revenue stream.

Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that we avoid the overlay of too many tax alternatives. Imposing special tax districts then also increasing the overall tax rate and imposing other particular fees would be unduly burdensome and would discourage growth and development.

We ask you to please consider these points carefully and protect our businesses by refusing to impose the commercial add-on tax.

Sincerely,



The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
Tina Leone
President/CEO

Tina Leone (194) | User | February 9, 2011 - 5:59 PM | Transportation Add-On Tax on Commercial Real Estate

February 9, 2010

RE: Proposed Commercial Add-on Tax

Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Council Members,

We represent nearly 860 businesses in Alexandria. We urge you to protect our businesses and promote economic growth by rejecting any increase in the commercial property tax.

We believe this tax is not right for Alexandria.

We are different than our neighbors, Arlington and Fairfax County. We agree that Alexandria must be a party to such a regional transportation system in concert with our neighbors to alleviate traffic congestion, to introduce new modes of eco-friendly transit and to foster future growth to and along commercial corridors.

However, we are unlike our neighbors who have many large, national and international corporations to help shoulder the burden of transportation costs. Our business tax base is predominantly comprised of small, locally owned and operated businesses that subsist on narrow profit margins. Over 90% of the City’s 9,000+ businesses have fewer than 20 employees. To expect small business owners to bear tax burdens in a manner similar to the way our neighbors tax their businesses is unrealistic. It is also potentially crippling to the businesses that foster the unique charm we have in Alexandria which is craved by residents and promoted by the City.

Commercial properties also make up a smaller portion of our tax base- relative to residential properties- about 45% of the total number of parcels in Alexandria. And when you remove apartments (since this tax won’t apply to them), the percentage is much smaller. Instead of harming the small businesses that make up our commercial tax base, we ask you to focus on expanding our tax base through thoughtful development and diversifying business uses so that there is an adequate complement of larger businesses that can then pay their proportionate, larger share of taxes. Imposing a commercial add-on tax now will merely hurt existing businesses and discourage new businesses from relocating to Alexandria.

We ask you to consider seizing the opportunity to market our City as a tax haven for businesses and a more attractive option to locate a business as compared to our neighbors.

We also believe this tax is inequitable.

We understand that transportation improvements, in the form of roadway improvement projects, new public transit systems and roadway maintenance, represent one of the most critical needs facing the City. We support these improvements and we are willing to pay our fair share. However, funding these needs cannot be borne solely by the business community.

Transportation is a core public service provided by the City. It is well-established that commercial properties require substantially less services from the City than do residential properties. Yet under the City’s current taxing structure, commercial and residential properties are taxed at an equal rate. Thus, commercial property owners pay proportionately equal taxes for fewer services than residential property owners. Residents and businesses alike will benefit from transportation improvements, and thus, the funding of such improvements should result from a uniform tax rate.

Finally, we believe this tax is not the only tool available to the City to fund transportation improvements.

The Chamber recognizes the City’s need to generate sufficient revenue to solve its transportation problems. However, the imposition of a commercial add-on tax cannot be supported by Alexandria’s small business base. Rather, transportation improvements should be funded through general fund revenue or through localized tax districts that raise funds for transportation improvements in connection with new developments.

You have established a precedent for dedicated funds raised through the general real estate tax base in its creation of an open space fund. A similar dedicated allocation of general revenue funding may be established for transportation infrastructure improvements. You also have the ability to issue general obligation bonds to fund transportation improvement projects. As a supplement to this dedicated revenue source, there are the funding options implemented in conjunction with the North Potomac Yard Plan, in which special tax districts create an additional dedicated revenue stream.

Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that we avoid the overlay of too many tax alternatives. Imposing special tax districts then also increasing the overall tax rate and imposing other particular fees would be unduly burdensome and would discourage growth and development.

We ask you to please consider these points carefully and protect our businesses by refusing to impose the commercial add-on tax.

Sincerely,



The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
Tina Leone
President/CEO

Tina Leone (194) | User | February 9, 2011 - 5:31 PM | FY 2012 Budget Process

Tina Leone (user 194) - Comments by Board

Transportation Add-On Tax on Commercial Real Estate

February 9, 2010

RE: Proposed Commercial Add-on Tax

Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Council Members,

We represent nearly 860 businesses in Alexandria. We urge you to protect our businesses and promote economic growth by rejecting any increase in the commercial property tax.

We believe this tax is not right for Alexandria.

We are different than our neighbors, Arlington and Fairfax County. We agree that Alexandria must be a party to such a regional transportation system in concert with our neighbors to alleviate traffic congestion, to introduce new modes of eco-friendly transit and to foster future growth to and along commercial corridors.

However, we are unlike our neighbors who have many large, national and international corporations to help shoulder the burden of transportation costs. Our business tax base is predominantly comprised of small, locally owned and operated businesses that subsist on narrow profit margins. Over 90% of the City’s 9,000+ businesses have fewer than 20 employees. To expect small business owners to bear tax burdens in a manner similar to the way our neighbors tax their businesses is unrealistic. It is also potentially crippling to the businesses that foster the unique charm we have in Alexandria which is craved by residents and promoted by the City.

Commercial properties also make up a smaller portion of our tax base- relative to residential properties- about 45% of the total number of parcels in Alexandria. And when you remove apartments (since this tax won’t apply to them), the percentage is much smaller. Instead of harming the small businesses that make up our commercial tax base, we ask you to focus on expanding our tax base through thoughtful development and diversifying business uses so that there is an adequate complement of larger businesses that can then pay their proportionate, larger share of taxes. Imposing a commercial add-on tax now will merely hurt existing businesses and discourage new businesses from relocating to Alexandria.

We ask you to consider seizing the opportunity to market our City as a tax haven for businesses and a more attractive option to locate a business as compared to our neighbors.

We also believe this tax is inequitable.

We understand that transportation improvements, in the form of roadway improvement projects, new public transit systems and roadway maintenance, represent one of the most critical needs facing the City. We support these improvements and we are willing to pay our fair share. However, funding these needs cannot be borne solely by the business community.

Transportation is a core public service provided by the City. It is well-established that commercial properties require substantially less services from the City than do residential properties. Yet under the City’s current taxing structure, commercial and residential properties are taxed at an equal rate. Thus, commercial property owners pay proportionately equal taxes for fewer services than residential property owners. Residents and businesses alike will benefit from transportation improvements, and thus, the funding of such improvements should result from a uniform tax rate.

Finally, we believe this tax is not the only tool available to the City to fund transportation improvements.

The Chamber recognizes the City’s need to generate sufficient revenue to solve its transportation problems. However, the imposition of a commercial add-on tax cannot be supported by Alexandria’s small business base. Rather, transportation improvements should be funded through general fund revenue or through localized tax districts that raise funds for transportation improvements in connection with new developments.

You have established a precedent for dedicated funds raised through the general real estate tax base in its creation of an open space fund. A similar dedicated allocation of general revenue funding may be established for transportation infrastructure improvements. You also have the ability to issue general obligation bonds to fund transportation improvement projects. As a supplement to this dedicated revenue source, there are the funding options implemented in conjunction with the North Potomac Yard Plan, in which special tax districts create an additional dedicated revenue stream.

Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that we avoid the overlay of too many tax alternatives. Imposing special tax districts then also increasing the overall tax rate and imposing other particular fees would be unduly burdensome and would discourage growth and development.

We ask you to please consider these points carefully and protect our businesses by refusing to impose the commercial add-on tax.

Sincerely,



The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
Tina Leone
President/CEO

Tina Leone (194) | User | February 9, 2011 - 5:59 PM

FY 2012 Budget Process

February 9, 2010

RE: Proposed Commercial Add-on Tax

Dear Mayor, Vice-Mayor and Council Members,

We represent nearly 860 businesses in Alexandria. We urge you to protect our businesses and promote economic growth by rejecting any increase in the commercial property tax.

We believe this tax is not right for Alexandria.

We are different than our neighbors, Arlington and Fairfax County. We agree that Alexandria must be a party to such a regional transportation system in concert with our neighbors to alleviate traffic congestion, to introduce new modes of eco-friendly transit and to foster future growth to and along commercial corridors.

However, we are unlike our neighbors who have many large, national and international corporations to help shoulder the burden of transportation costs. Our business tax base is predominantly comprised of small, locally owned and operated businesses that subsist on narrow profit margins. Over 90% of the City’s 9,000+ businesses have fewer than 20 employees. To expect small business owners to bear tax burdens in a manner similar to the way our neighbors tax their businesses is unrealistic. It is also potentially crippling to the businesses that foster the unique charm we have in Alexandria which is craved by residents and promoted by the City.

Commercial properties also make up a smaller portion of our tax base- relative to residential properties- about 45% of the total number of parcels in Alexandria. And when you remove apartments (since this tax won’t apply to them), the percentage is much smaller. Instead of harming the small businesses that make up our commercial tax base, we ask you to focus on expanding our tax base through thoughtful development and diversifying business uses so that there is an adequate complement of larger businesses that can then pay their proportionate, larger share of taxes. Imposing a commercial add-on tax now will merely hurt existing businesses and discourage new businesses from relocating to Alexandria.

We ask you to consider seizing the opportunity to market our City as a tax haven for businesses and a more attractive option to locate a business as compared to our neighbors.

We also believe this tax is inequitable.

We understand that transportation improvements, in the form of roadway improvement projects, new public transit systems and roadway maintenance, represent one of the most critical needs facing the City. We support these improvements and we are willing to pay our fair share. However, funding these needs cannot be borne solely by the business community.

Transportation is a core public service provided by the City. It is well-established that commercial properties require substantially less services from the City than do residential properties. Yet under the City’s current taxing structure, commercial and residential properties are taxed at an equal rate. Thus, commercial property owners pay proportionately equal taxes for fewer services than residential property owners. Residents and businesses alike will benefit from transportation improvements, and thus, the funding of such improvements should result from a uniform tax rate.

Finally, we believe this tax is not the only tool available to the City to fund transportation improvements.

The Chamber recognizes the City’s need to generate sufficient revenue to solve its transportation problems. However, the imposition of a commercial add-on tax cannot be supported by Alexandria’s small business base. Rather, transportation improvements should be funded through general fund revenue or through localized tax districts that raise funds for transportation improvements in connection with new developments.

You have established a precedent for dedicated funds raised through the general real estate tax base in its creation of an open space fund. A similar dedicated allocation of general revenue funding may be established for transportation infrastructure improvements. You also have the ability to issue general obligation bonds to fund transportation improvement projects. As a supplement to this dedicated revenue source, there are the funding options implemented in conjunction with the North Potomac Yard Plan, in which special tax districts create an additional dedicated revenue stream.

Care needs to be taken, however, to ensure that we avoid the overlay of too many tax alternatives. Imposing special tax districts then also increasing the overall tax rate and imposing other particular fees would be unduly burdensome and would discourage growth and development.

We ask you to please consider these points carefully and protect our businesses by refusing to impose the commercial add-on tax.

Sincerely,



The Alexandria Chamber of Commerce
Tina Leone
President/CEO

Tina Leone (194) | User | February 9, 2011 - 5:31 PM