(Alexandria, VA) - Widespread unease and outright opposition from businesses and property owners over the proposed Old Town Business Improvement District (BID) has forced pro-BID advocates to abandon the scheme. Late Wednesday afternoon, BID opponents were notified that the BID Organizing Committee had withdrawn its request that Alexandria City Council create a Special Tax District for the creation of a BID for 2006. The 350,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) applauds the deferral of this new tax as a win for local property owners who won't see a new tax levied on top of their existing property tax burden in 2006.
"NTU is thrilled to learn that the plug has been pulled from this misguided proposal," said NTU Government Affairs Manager Kristina Rasmussen. "In meetings with Old Town community members over the past few months, we expressed numerous concerns regarding the process by which the BID proposal was moving forward in the city government, the ever-increasing tax rate, and problems within the BID budget and organizational structure. We are heartened to hear that our message of lower property taxes resonated among local business and property owners."
NTU led a large grassroots coalition of more than 100 businesses and property owners opposed to the BID. Over the last few months, the Old Town-based citizen group conducted a campaign against the property tax increase scheme by compiling a fact sheet, distributing "NO BID TAX!" signs, circulating a petition opposing the plan among businesses, and working with a local business owner and activist to launch a webpage (www.oldtownbidtax.org).
"Thanks to ever-increasing support from BID-area property owners who recognized the flaws in the ill-fated BID proposal, NTU was able to organize a concerted effort to defeat the BID in its current form," said Rasmussen. Although NTU is a national organization, Rasmussen was quick to point out that the group opposed the BID from the standpoint of a decade-long property owner within the designated improvement district area (i.e., along the King Street corridor and one block on either side between the King Metro Station and the river).
Rasmussen stressed that NTU will continue to monitor the BID project: "Should a rehabilitated proposal for an Old Town BID be presented before the Alexandria City Council next year, you can be sure that the National Taxpayers Union will among the first to review and respond."
NTU was founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes and smaller government and has been headquartered at 108 North Alfred Street since 1995. More information about NTU is available online at www.ntu.org.