Property tax; exemptions for certain real property and nonprofit organizations in Frederick County. (HB2165)

Introduced By

Del. Dave LaRock (R-Loudoun)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Property tax exemptions in Frederick County. Repeals the property tax exemption in Frederick County for: the Potomac Appalachian Trail Club, the Nature Conservancy, The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc., Cedar Creek Battlefield Foundation, Inc., Frederick United Methodist Housing Development, Northern Shenandoah Valley Association for Retarded, Northwestern Workshop, Inc., Robert E. Rose Memorial Foundation, Inc., Shalom Et Benedictus, Inc., Shenandoah Valley Community Residences, Inc., Special Love, Inc., the National Wildlife Federation, The Stone House Foundation, Wayside Foundation for the Arts, Inc., Wayside Museum of American History and Arts, Winchester Chapter of The Izaak Walton League of America, Westminster-Canterbury of Winchester, Inc., and Windy Hill Foundation. Read the Bill »

Outcome

Bill Has Failed

History

DateAction
01/14/2015Committee
01/14/2015Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/14/15 15102860D
01/14/2015Referred to Committee on Finance
01/27/2015Assigned Finance sub: Subcommittee #1
01/27/2015Assigned Finance sub: Subcommittee #3
01/27/2015Impact statement from TAX (HB2165)
01/30/2015Subcommittee recommends laying on the table
02/10/2015Left in Finance

Comments

C. M. Jones writes:

Please veto this bill.

David C. Jones, D.D.S. writes:

To remove the property tax exemption for Shenandoah Valley Westminster Canterbury would be a real slap in the face to all the staff and residents who have worked so hard to honor the the very reason for giving us that exemption so many years ago. The shortfall in taxes has been paid for many times over by all the numerous activities provided freely to the city & county by Shenandoah Valley Westminster Canterbury. Fredrick County will not find any cost savings by removing our tax exemption and losing the services provided by our residents & staff.

On behalf of the our residents and staff at Shenandoah Valley Westminster Canterbury please vote this bill down.

David C. Jones, D.D.S. (resident of 3 years)
300 Westminster Canterbury Dr., Apt 241
Winchester, VA 22603

(540) 665-5773

H G WHITE JR writes:

I hope this bill will be vetoed. It is a counterproductive piece of legislation that will negatively impact Frederick County community spirit disproportionate to anticipated tax revenue.

H G WHITE JR
108 Elderberry Court
Winchester, VA 22603

540 6670733

Ann Whitehead Thomas writes:

As a seven-year-resident of Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury,I urge that this proposed bill #2165 be vetoed. Since SVWC was granted exemption by the General Assembly some twenty-eight years ago (to which the County of Frederick did not object), both our administration and its residents have been diligent in providing services that have been of benefit to Frederick County and the City of Winchester. Meals on Wheels and laundry service and programs provided for the homeless in the WATTS program are but two examples of our continuing outreach to the community.

Mrs. Ann Whitehead Thomas
300 Westminster-Canterburty Drive, Apt. 438
(540)450-3253
Winchester, Va. 22603

Ben B. Bealor writes:

Wisdom and History dictate that this Bill be defeated. The services that the affected organizations provide to the communities in Frederick County and to the City of Winchester will not and can not be replaced by increased county revenue.

Donald D. M. Jones Ann Padgette Jones writes:

We are disturbed and upset over the possibility that the tax exempt status of our retirement community SVWC should be revoked. I understand that this is what this bill will do. If caring for the sick and aged is not worthy of tax exemption, then what would be eligible!

If the tax exempt status were to be revoked, it would wreak havoc on the financial planning, not only of SVWC, but other similar ones as well. It would also seriously upset the finances as well for the nearly 400 residents who live here.

We understand that the original exemption for a charitable and benevolent organization was granted by the General Assembly in 1986. This was granted because of the church related sponsorship and the statement of mission, which still holds. SVWC has a long history of making annual donations to the City of Winchester and Frederick County in lieu of taxes. This seems a fair and equitable solution for non-profit organizations

Not content with that equitable arrangement, SVWC has set up a tax exempt foundation for the sole purpose of making it possible for any resident who, despite careful planning and through no fault of their own, “runs out of assets” to be able to remain as a resident. If this were no longer available, then the responsibility would shift back to the community at large.

In addition, SVWC as an organization is involved with a number of nonprofit and charitable organizations in the community –
Providing linen and laundry services to a local church program for sheltering the homeless for 20 weeks during the winter;
Providing Meals on Wheels to low income seniors in the community through Area Agency on Aging;
Donating medications and medical supplies to the local Free Medical Clinic;
Donating building supplies to Habitat for Humanity;
Donating miscellaneous items to Hospice, SPCA, and local thrift stores;
Serving as a clinical training site for students in training for medical careers at Shenandoah University, Lord Fairfax Community College and the local chapter of American Red Cross.;
Opening its rooms for meetings of local disease support groups in the community – e.g. breast cancer, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson diseases;
Both residents and staff are active in donating time and energy to a large number of local churches, schools and museums, etc.

Since this bill affects not only SVWC but a number of others in the Commonwealth, we think you should be aware of the rather wide-spread ramifications which are involved. Governments at all levels are struggling with tight budgets but it seems to us to be unfair to undermine the efforts of organizations such as SVWC. We trust that you will continue to be aware of the need and services which such communities provide without taxing them. Taxing would possibly force a reduction in the kinds of services now provided to the Winchester community. Taxing would be an unfair burden on all such communities and their residents, who are also voters.

We would personally appreciate your efforts to defeat this unfair and unequal bill. The only valid reason to saddle any such community with taxation would be if it ceased to live up to its original charitable and benevolent purpose.

The Reverend James Allen Hammond writes:

House Bill 2165 is a bad bill and should be defeated. It will do immeasurable harm to the non-profit organizations at which it is directed, and by the inevitable reduction of the activities from these organizations the Bill will erode the quality of life in Frederick County and the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Our society has a long history of providing care for the weakest and most vulnerable, and particularly for people at the beginning of life (infants and young children), and those at the end of life (the elderly who become unable to care for themselves). This culture has long recognized the value of organizations which seek not to make a profit, but which seek to enrich our lives and/or provide nurture and care for the most vulnerable among us.

As a Trustee of Episcopal Diocesan Homes, the umbrella organization under which Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury was founded, along with seven other residential communities for the elderly, and as a resident of Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury, I can attest to the extremely important role that Continuing Care Retirement Communities (CCRCs) play in the life of a community. Ponder for a second the burden which would be placed on the local economy of Frederick County if the four hundred residents of SVWC were to need care provided by public funds rather than the care being provided by this institution. Ponder for a second the economic impact of the loss of three hundred or so jobs in Frederick County.

The business model of Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury is based, in part, upon the tax exempt status provided by the General Assembly in the 1980s when SVWC was being formed. Significant and unfair burdens will be placed upon the residents of this retirement community if this exemption is withdrawn. As a CCRC under the umbrella of Episcopal Diocesan Homes, SVWC and the other not-for-profit CCRCs in our care are required to provide Fellowship Funds to assist those who live longer than their assets, ensuring that no one is forced out due to an inability to pay. Episcopal Diocesan Homes encourages each of our institutions to seek and maintain accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities (CARF), an independent organization which evaluates retirement facilities. SVWC maintains accreditation by CARF, one of only about twelve percent of retirement facilities across the nation to reach that level of excellence.

I am a retired Episcopal priest. I wish I could describe adequately the state of care for the elderly when I first was ordained and began to function as a minister. It was not at all unusual to visit a home for the aged only to find four, six or eight people living in one room, often lying naked or barely clothed on their beds, sometimes filthy due to a lack of care. I found myself changing diapers on men and women unable to care for themselves, redressing them in their hospital gowns and pulling sheets back over their crippled bodies. Such was the nature of care in some facilities fifty years ago. Fortunately, in the ensuing years churches have become involved in the provision of care for the elderly and communities such as Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury have been built, Continuing Care Retirement Communities which are well staffed, well run, and in which scenes like that which I used to see are no longer prevalent.

The good which is being accomplished by the not-for-profit organizations at which House Bill 2165 is directed will be diminished if this bad Bill is passed. That is inevitable due to the huge increases in costs which each of the institutions will have to bear if they are subjected to an elimination of their tax exempt status. If this bad Bill is passed, there will be only two options at SVWC, neither good -- either reduce services currently provided to the at-risk population, or increase the fees which are being paid often by residents on fixed incomes.

The General Assembly acted in the best interests of society by providing the tax exemption initially. It is still in the best interests of society here in the Commonwealth of Virginia to provide this assistance to not-for-profit organizations such as SVWC and the other institutions at which this bad Bill is aimed.

I ask for your help in rejecting House Bill 2165.

Allen A Futral writes:

This bill represents an assault on not-for-profit organizations which provide many services at no further cost to government than tax exemption. This represents a step backward from the concept that needs of the community can be served by citizen organizations as well as by government. This bill should be removed from consideration.

June Hess writes:

I cannot improve upon Reverend Hammond's thoughtful summary, but wish to add my gratitude for it. I hope there are other thoughtful people who are attempting to govern responsibly who will, also, carefully consider what he has written.

I do wish to add, though, this question to the discussion: Why on earth is this issue being considered at the state level at all at this time? It seems like an attempt to over-rule issues that have already been considered at the local level but for which a minority is attempting to overcome results with which they disagree.

Please help nullify HB2165!

Al Graber writes:

What are you thinking? Do the authors of this bill truly understand what each of these targeted non-profits contribute to our community each year? This blanket repeal of property tax exemptions strikes directly at the types of service organizations that our City/County leaders like to tout when telling others about what a wonderful community we live in and why they should relocate their residence or their business here.

Close your eyes and picture our community without the very special contributions that each of these 18 organizations make each year. Contributions that, obviously are taken for granted by some.

Burdening these non-profits by repealing their tax exempt status will only result in a dilution of their abilities to service our community. This reduction of services will then create the need for our City/County leaders to pick up the slack, presumably at a cost far exceeding the incremental property tax revenue that they covet.

Summary: Reduced community services/ Community disruption/ Net cost increase

Stop the madness !!
Veto HB#2165

Amy Fielder writes:

There are two very important organizations not yet mentioned that SVWC and the residents both provide financial help and services for: The Museum of the Shenandoah Valley and The Literacy Organization in Winchester. I'm sure more have been left out.
My question is why have all the organizations listed in the bill been lumped together? Except for being a not for profit what does SVWC have in common with a battlefield or a nature center? Curious.

David S.&Eda D. Doyle writes:

One on the important reasons we moved to SVWC two years ago was its relationship with the community. If this bill is passed, the increased costs to the residents will impact much of what we do to support other charitable organizations in the area. Defeat HB#2165.