Many of our Republican Senators and Delegates are strongly supporting House and Senate legislation to reform the proffer process enacted by our local counties. I believe many of our Republican representatives may mean well, as many counties abuse the proffer system for their own corrupt purposes, artificially raising the cost of housing and pocketing proffer profits for general use unrelated to Residential Development.
However, this is an issue that should be taken up with the local Board of Supervisors. If your BOS is corrupt, vote them out and put better representation in â€“ but do not take away the leverage of responsible counties! Developers have been throwing money at Richmond for years, desperately trying to find a way to put off their costs on the taxpayers in the counties themselves and this legislation is designed to do precisely that. If your county cannot acquire just compensation for the cost of new housing (infrastructure costs including fire, ems, police, schools (all costs which increase with new housing)) from the wealthy developers, they will be forced to acquire that revenue from the poor and middle class families already living in the County.
Thatâ€™s a terrible idea.
While I recognize that many of our Republican Representatives in Richmond are all too aware of the corruption within their county Board of Supervisors and can claim that this legislation is designed to stop that corruption, what evidence do we have that our State Government isnâ€™t simply transferring the corrupt donations from the local county governments to themselves? How do we know that this isnâ€™t their way of getting more direct donations from developers for their own campaigns, as opposed to Developers petitioning members of local governments?
If our local BOS can be corrupted by proffer negotiations, then so can our State Representatives. So Iâ€™m not sure what these reforms actually intend to fix, unless this is just another power grab by the State Government.
More importantly, on principle, residential development is a local issue. All of the costs and consequences associated with development are felt by the localities and not the State Government. These negotiations and contracts should remain a local government issue. Richmond should not be deciding whoâ€™s on the hook for what in Hanover, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and Loudoun. Let local government govern itself. If our State Government believes that we think their motives are pure as the driven snow, but our local governments are not, then they are living in a fantasy world of their own design and Virginia Residents know better.
I do not believe that all Republicans supporting this legislation are necessarily doing so out of malicious intent, but I do believe that many of them simply do not understand how local government works, or why proffers are necessary, or how fed up local residents are with paying for development that enrich the developers and merely serve to increase costs to local tax payers.
Please, call your State Senator and your Delegate and talk to them about Proffer Reform. Donâ€™t attack them. Just explain to them that you donâ€™t believe that Richmond should be interfering in local government on behalf of powerful special interests. Itâ€™s really that simple.
Here are links to the legislation. Please, act today. Republicans in the House and Senate are already hearing from their constituents and they are ready to pass this legislation at a moments notice. If they do, you can expect your local taxes to go up, but fast. Please reach out to your Representatives and ask them to reconsider.