Minton’s Academy of Music owner Larry Minton shared the following letter he sent to the Loudoun Board of Supervisors with Ashburn Patch:
November 27, 2012
Dear Loudoun County Board of Supervisors,
First, let me tell you who we are: My name is Larry Minton and for the past 10 years my wife and I have owned and operated a music school in the Ashburn Tech Park. Both my wife and I work approximately 70 hours per week. No lie! If you’re not familiar with small business and small business owners, let me assure you that we are not unique in this.
We have watched countless small businesses in this area unable to survive due to the cost of doing business. It’s very expensive here. A recent Jeopardy question asked, “What is the most expensive county to live in, in the United States?” The answer: Loudoun County.
When you’re a small business you pay taxes every quarter of every year. You pay federal taxes, state taxes and local taxes. Lots of taxes. We pay the cost of payroll, supplies, shipping, rent, utilities, advertising, cam fees and insurance payments. The list goes on and on. And by the way, all of those are taxed. No matter what our operating costs are, whether we turn a profit or not, we are always required to pay our taxes.
I find it ironic that we, the small business owners, the job creators in this community, the service providers of this area, now find ourselves in the position of having to educate a committee that seemingly knows little to nothing about us, but feels it’s alright to stick their hand in our pockets by virtue of drawing a line on a map. It’s very nice for you that you have a train being built here, but that train does not benefit my business in any way shape or form. Our clients live in and around our school. More precisely, our clients travel between one to five miles for our services. If anything the addition of more traffic to and from the train to an already poorly thought-out infrastructure will only have a negative impact on our client base. Anyone who has lived here for three years or more knows that the time it takes to travel a two-mile stretch of Waxpool Road or Ashburn Road between 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday has tripled. The burden on small businesses and our clients in this area is significant. More time, more gas, more pollution, more frustration. Again, we give music lessons. And just so you know, clients that walk into our facility already frustrated are not instantly acclimated to learning.
I really think you’ve got this all wrong; we shouldn’t be punished because you thought a train was a good idea. To the contrary, we should be rewarded with tax breaks for having the businesses that provide the goods and services to you and the people of this community who you claim will benefit from the influx brought by a train. I don’t remember these committees asking what help we the small businesses of this area would need before you decided to saddle us with the extra weight a train would bring to our daily lives and the adjustments we have to make just to continue to do business as usual. Time constraints and the price of gas alone will be enough to crush the entrepreneurial life out of some and discourage others from considering a new start up. I have the double misfortune of living in your proposed tax grid as well. I do not want a 40 percent or 20 percent tax increase because someone’s train is making money that I reap no benefits from. I am adamantly opposed to any tax increase.
Business Owner on Red Rum Drive