Editor: Your recent article on the Loudoun County Board’s proposal to increase real estate taxes for Loudoun homeowners while decreasing property taxes for data centers is a bombshell that needs to explode.
This board and previous boards have been strong advocates for the rapid growth of data centers in Loudoun County. They sold this growth to us with a promise that new data center property taxes would pay for a much bigger county government, new schools and increased services without increasing residential taxes. And over the years, the boards have made good on that promise. The real cost to the county has been an environmental disaster, clear cutting woodlands, disappearing farms, eliminating scenic viewsheds and even invading residential neighborhoods—all the things that made Loudoun beautiful—and replacing them with rows of massive monolithic concrete data center structures. But, to the Boards’ credit, fundamentally changing the character of the County for the worse has for the most part eliminated real estate tax increases for our growing population.
So now that the real physical damage has already been done to the county, and data centers and their industrial infrastructure are here to stay, it would be patently absurd for us to accept an increase in real estate taxes so this board can decrease property taxes for data centers to maintain some fictitious and completely arbitrary equity in tax sources. This board may be suffering from buyer’s remorse caused by prior boards, but that’s the deal the county made with the data center developers and that’s the deal we are stuck with. Furthermore, it’s just common sense that if they do cut the property tax rate for data centers, it will only encourage even more rapid growth and expansion of data centers across the county. So why give them a tax break unless you want many, many more data centers in the county.
If you’re going to make a deal with the devil, then at least be smart about it. Increase the property taxes on data centers until they stop building new ones and decrease residential taxes so people can better afford to live here. For all the taxes they pay, data centers don’t vote, (they don’t even employ many voters) but county residents do.
Tony Virgilio, Leesburg