A Va. tax provision you should know about
By Kim S. Uttenweiler
Regarding the Nov. 29 Metro article “Fairfax hungry for more revenue”:
As the treasurer for a small town in the Shenandoah Valley, I know that local jurisdictions need to seek out additional sources of revenue if we are to have any hopes of continuing services for our residents.
I wish to draw your attention to a little-known tax provision in the Virginia Code — 58.1-2606. This law dates back several decades and exempted railroads from paying the personal property tax rate on their business property. Instead they got to use the much more advantageous real property tax rate. It was no time at all before the public utilities climbed on board, and they, too, were allowed to use the much lower tax rate on all personal property save motor vehicles.
Washington Gas Light, Dominion Power, Verizon, Comcast and all other public utilities pay much less than their fair share of taxes, and, therefore, the tax burden shifts to private businesses and taxpayers. In other words, I tax Aunt B’s Pies 50 cents per $100 assessed value of her baking sheets, but Verizon only pays 7.6 cents on all the computer and switching equipment in its building on School Street.
As a treasurer, I must tax these utilities for pennies on the dollar that they morally should be paying. I have no choice. It’s time the public learned more about this dodgy little tax provision.
Posted by: PittChix | December 10, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse
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