ballots

While voters have been focusing on whom they want to send to Washington this coming cycle, either a congressional representative or a U.S. senator, many have forgotten about the other measures that will be on the ballot next Tuesday, November 6.

As stated by the Virginia Department of Elections (ELECT), these are the two proposed amendments:

Ballot Question 1:

Article X. Taxation and Finance. Section 6. Exempt property

“Should a county, city, or town be authorized to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if flooding resiliency improvements have been made on the property?”

Virginia’s Constitution provides that all property be taxed – although many do not like that, but it is a factor we all have to live with to provide necessary functions. Nevertheless, the Commonwealth’s guiding document also sets out specific types of properties that may be exempt from taxation. For example, it is permitted that localities may provide a partial exemption from real estate taxes as an incentive for property owners to make substantial improvements to existing structures by renovating, rehabilitating, or replacing those structures.

The proposed amendment would authorize the General Assembly to allow localities to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if improvements have been made on the property to address flooding. ELECT states, “The General Assembly and participating localities would be allowed to place restrictions or conditions on qualification for the tax exemption.”

A “yes” vote will authorize the General Assembly to allow localities to provide a partial tax exemption for real property that is subject to recurrent flooding, if improvements have been made on the property to address flooding.

A “no” vote will not allow such a tax exemption.

Ballot Question 2:

Article X. Taxation and Finance. Section 6-A. Property tax exemption for certain veterans and their surviving spouses and surviving spouses of soldiers killed in action.

“Shall the real property tax exemption for a primary residence that is currently provided to the surviving spouses of veterans who had a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability be amended to allow the surviving spouse to move to a different primary residence and still claim the exemption?”

Virginia’s Constitution also requires the General Assembly to have an exemption from taxation on the primary residence of any veteran who has been determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to have a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability. Moreover, this tax exemption is also provided to the surviving spouse of such a veteran, just as long as the surviving spouse continues to occupy that specific residence or property as the “principal place of residence.”

The proposed amendment would allow the surviving spouse of any veteran, which has been given the aforementioned disability designation, to continue to claim the tax exemption, even if the surviving spouse moves to a new principal place of residence that is owned by the surviving spouse.

A “yes” vote will allow these surviving spouses to move to a new principal place of residence that is owned by the surviving spouse and still claim the tax exemption.

A “no” vote will not allow such surviving spouses to move and still claim the tax exemption.