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Virginia Constitutional Amendments Slated for November 2nd General Election

This year's proposed Constitutional Amendments are now up for review prior to being voted on during the November 2, 2010 General Election this fall.  There are three proposed amendments on the table:

  1. Property Tax Relief,
  2. Veteran Property Tax Exemptions, and
  3. Increasing the Revenue Stabilization Fund

The first proposed amendment, while technically a real estate tax amendment, facilitates aging in place policies.  Currently, the General Assembly can give localities the authority to grant exemptions from real estate taxes to persons 65 years of age or older, or for persons permanently and totally disabled, for their residence where the normal tax bill would amount to "an extraordinary tax burden" in relation to their income and financial worth.  The amendment now proposed, however, would allow localities to remove the requirement about the "extraordinary tax burden" and gives the General Assembly the authority to allow localities to determine their own income or financial worth limitations for tax exemptions.  If approved,  the senior citizen vote would then be open for bidding in localities across Virginia.

The second proposed amendment relates to the first, which contemplates allowing localities to extend the same real estate tax exemptions to veterans.   As proposed, the amendment would require the General Assembly to pass a law exempting from local taxation the principal residence owned and occupied by any veteran with a one hundred percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability. Also, the veteran's surviving spouse could continue to claim the exemption so long as he or she does not remarry and continues to occupy the home as his or her principal residence.  I'm not sure what would qualify as a "permanent, total disability" but I would expect subsequently enacted legislation would clarify and define these terms.

The third proposed amendment, from the fiscal responsibility front, allows the General Assembly to increase the size of its rainy day fund, entitled the "Revenue Stabilization Fund," from 10% to 15% of its revenues derived from annual income taxes and retail sales taxes.  Note that the fund will not be required to be 15% of these revenue, the amendment merely raises the limit of the fund to a maximum of 15% of these revenues.  If the fund exceeds the 15% maximum limit, the excess is required to be transferred to the general fund.

If you're dying to read the amendments yourself before heading to the voting booth this fall, click here for the actual text amendments.