May 1, 2018 — On Tuesday, April 24, the Prince William County Board of Supervisors voted 6-2 in favor of maintaining the County’s competitive rate on the “technology tax,” the tax on programmable computer equipment and peripherals. In February, Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart had proposed almost tripling the tax rate from $1.25 per $100 in assessed value to $3.70. The Board then voted 7-1 to advertise its budget at the $3.70 rate. NVTC strongly opposed the “technology tax” rate increase since it was initially proposed.
The tax rate increase would have impacted over 4,000 businesses of all sizes and across many sectors who utilize computers and related technology. NVTC was especially concerned about the impact that tax rate increase would have on data centers and other technology-intensive businesses currently located in Prince William County, as well as the impact on the County’s ongoing economic development efforts to recruit more of these technology-based businesses. Data centers comprised 92 percent of all capital investment in the County since 2012.
NVTC organized and led a coalition seeking to defeat the proposal. The coalition included the Prince William Chamber of Commerce, the Apartment and Office Building Association of Metropolitan Washington (AOBA) and the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, in addition to Prince William County data centers, data center tenants and contractors/subcontractors who partner with data centers. NVTC had prepared and sent letters to individual Supervisors, helped to coordinate public testimony, and organized and attended in-person meetings with data center industry reps and individual members of the Board of Supervisors to discuss data center business models, the importance of the sector to Prince William County’s economy and concerns about the tax increase proposal. NVTC also shared with each Supervisor a Prince William County-specific supplement to NVTC’s previously released data center report, The Economic and Fiscal Contributions that Data Centers Make to Virginia: Spotlight on Prince William County, an infographic highlighting the economic impact of data centers on Prince William County based on information from the report, and slides showing annual taxes paid by data centers to Prince William County since 2012.
“This was a vote to maintain the competitive business climate that has distinguished the County as a leading destination for data center jobs and investment. It is an affirmation by County leaders that expanding the commercial tax base by growing and attracting more technology sector jobs and investment is the best way to provide for additional, sustainable tax revenue to fund education, public safety and other County priorities and services.” said NVTC Vice President for Policy Josh Levi.
“NVTC is grateful to all the members of the Board of Supervisors who voted against this proposal. We are especially appreciative of the strong leadership demonstrated by Supervisors Marty Nohe, Jeanine Lawson and Frank Principi in studying the issue in-depth and speaking out against this proposal and the harmful impact it would have on Prince William County’s business climate and commercial tax base,” added NVTC President and CEO Bobbie Kilberg.