Farmers and others deserve it

I must take exception to your recent [cover story, April 10] ( "Tax break for the rich and famous."

In the opening paragraph, Lisa Provence states that a local famous person's home is assessed at $3.45 million but that he pays only $976 in property taxes on his 50 acres or "about as much as the owner of a one acre lot in Forest Lakes."

Those statements contain an unforgivable lie of omission that is obviously intended to slant the article to support a biased premise.

The lie of omission? The tax bill for the entire estate (house and land) is actually in excess of $15,000, and implying that this person pays only $976 on a $3.45 million home is dishonest. The tax break is for keeping the land from turning into a townhouse wasteland.

If you will consider it from the farmer's point of view, you will see that the current policies are fair. If he owns 50 acres, he might pay only $976 on the land; however, he will also pay an additional amount for whatever the house is worth. If he and a family in Forest Lakes each have a family of four and homes of equal value (assessment wise), they pay about the same taxes.

So where is the problem? The only real difference is that the farmer isn't clogging the roads on his way to work. It is unfair to imply that the landowner isn't contributing his "fair share" to the local tax burden. The farmer also has to pay income tax on any profits he makes off the land.

Unfortunately, development can never be stopped. The population is growing, and new housing is necessary. It is in the best interest of those already here to slow it down as much as possible because that growth will not make our lives better. Take a trip to the traffic congestion in Northern Virginia, and you will see your future.

While $10 million a year sounds like a lot of money for the county to lose because of this program, the reality is that the "rich and famous" are probably less than ten percent of the total, or about a million bucks.

If anyone thinks that the combined philanthropy and business dealings of the local celebs don't catalyze more than that to the local tax coffers, then they need a lesson in basic economics. I am quite sure that the tax assessors salivate when a $3 million house goes up because they know what that does to the surrounding home values.

The reality is that every one of those "rich and famous" who were lambasted are in actuality subsidizing the poorest among us, and if they are able to get a little back through a legal loophole, good for them.

If the government started allowing the complainers to deduct Starbucks coffee as a medical expense, I'd bet the farm that there would be lots of people in the suburbs saving receipts.

Mitch Carr