Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Transfer for Disabled Veterans Amendment, State Question 770 (2014)

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State Question 770
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Oklahoma Constitution
Referred by:Oklahoma Legislature
Topic:Veterans on the ballot
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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November 4
State Question 769 Approveda
State Question 770 Approveda
State Question 771 Approveda
Polls

The Oklahoma Homestead Exemption Transfer for Disabled Veterans Amendment, State Question 770 was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure allowed a qualifying disabled veteran or his or her surviving spouse to sell their homestead, acquire another homestead property in the same calendar year and keep their property tax homestead exemption.[1]

The amendment was sponsored in the Oklahoma Legislature as House Bill No. 2621. The bill placed two measures on the ballot, including this one and State Question 771.[1]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Oklahoma Question 770
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 710,134 90.4%
No75,5229.6%

Election results via: Oklahoma State Election Board

Text of measure

Ballot title

The tentative ballot question was as follows:[1]

BALLOT TITLE
Legislative Referendum No. _____ State Question No. _____

THE GIST OF THE PROPOSITION IS AS FOLLOWS:

This measure amends the Oklahoma Constitution. It amends Section 8E of Article 10. This section provides a homestead exemption to certain qualifying disabled veterans. It also provides a homestead exemption to the surviving spouse of qualifying disabled veterans. This measure would allow either the veteran or his or her surviving spouse to sell the homestead but acquire another homestead property in the same calendar year. The exemption would apply to the newly acquired homestead property to the same extent as the original exemption for the homestead property that was sold.

SHALL THE PROPOSAL BE APPROVED?

FOR THE PROPOSAL — YES _____________

AGAINST THE PROPOSAL — NO _____________ [2]

Constitutional changes

See also: Article X, Oklahoma Constitution

The measure amended Section 8E of Article X of the Constitution of Oklahoma:[1]

Section 8E. A. Despite any provision to the contrary, beginning January 1, 2006, each head of household who has been honorably discharged from active service in any branch of the Armed Forces of the United States or Oklahoma National Guard and who has been certified by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs or its successor to have a one hundred percent (100%) permanent disability sustained through military action or accident or resulting from disease contracted while in such active service or the surviving spouse of such head of household shall be entitled to claim an exemption for the full amount of the fair cash value of the homestead.

B. In order to be eligible for the exemption authorized by this section, the individual shall be required to prove residency within the State of Oklahoma and must have previously qualified for the homestead exemption authorized by law or be eligible for the homestead exemption pursuant to law.

C. If a homestead otherwise eligible for the exemption authorized by this section is transferred on or after January 1 of a calendar year, another homestead property acquired by the qualifying head of household or by the surviving spouse of such qualifying head of household shall be exempt to the same extent as the homestead property previously owned by such person or persons for the year during which the new homestead is acquired and, subject to the requirements of this section, for each year thereafter.[2]


Background

State Question 770 addressed homestead exemptions. At the time of Question 770's approval, homestead exemptions were defined as "laws designed to protect the value of a home from property taxes and creditors following the death of a homeowner spouse."[3] According to the voter's guide published by Vote411.org:[4]

Homestead exemption laws typically have four primary features:
  • They prevent the forced sale of a home to meet the demands of creditors (however, in most cases homestead exemptions do not apply to forced sales to satisfy mortgages, mechanics liens, or sales to pay property taxes);
  • They provide the surviving spouse with shelter;
  • They provide an exemption from property taxes which can be applied to a home.
  • They allow a tax-exempt homeowner to vote on property tax increases to homeowners over the threshold via bond or millage requests. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homestead_exemption)

Only one primary residence of an individual is eligible for a homestead exemption. Ad Valorem or “at value” taxes are based on the value of the property. In Oklahoma, the county assessor places a value on property, set the tax rate based on local laws and collect the taxes. State laws determine how the process works. Property taxes are used to pay for core government services including public schools, infrastructure and police and fire protection. (Source: Oklahoma Property Taxes: 2014 Taxpayers’ Rights, Remedies and Responsibilities, Taxpayer Education Series, TES-14)

Oklahoma is currently 47th in the nation in the amount of property taxes levied on property owners.[2]

—Vote411.org

Support

HB 2621 "Yes" votes

HB 2621 was unanimously approved in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature.[5]

Note: A yes vote on HB 2621 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in State Question 770.

Arguments

According to the voter's guide published by Vote411.org:[4]

Proponents Say:

1. The incidence of disabled veterans and/or their spouses claiming the exemption would be relatively low making the potential impact on local revenue low.

2. The measures would provide further benefits for 100% disabled veterans and their families thus improving their standard of living.

3. The measures would serve to stabilize communities through home ownership.[2]

—Vote411.org


Opposition

Arguments

According to the voter's guide published by Vote411.org[4]

Opponents Say:

1. The continual chipping away at taxes aggravates our state’s inability to adequately fund and provide core government functions.

2. If approved the burden of taxation would shift to non-veteran property owners.

3. Small counties may be more adversely affected than larger ones who are better able to absorb the tax loss.

4. There is no good way to replace this tax.[2]

—Vote411.org

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Oklahoma ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Tulsa World said,
We endorse all three state questions on the statewide ballot.

SQ 770 would allow disabled veterans and their spouses who are already eligible for 100 percent homestead property tax exemptions to take their exemptions with them when they purchase a new home.[2]

Tulsa World, [6]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Oklahoma Constitution

A simple majority vote was required in both chambers of the Oklahoma Legislature in order to place the proposed constitutional amendment on the ballot. The measure was approved unanimously in both legislative chambers. HB 2621 was approved by the Oklahoma Senate on April 24, 2014. The bill was approved by the Oklahoma House on May 20, 2014. The legislation was filed with the Oklahoma Secretary of State on May 21, 2014.[5]

Senate vote

April 24, 2014 Senate vote

Oklahoma HB 2621 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 39 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

May 20, 2014 House vote

Oklahoma HB 2621 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 84 100.00%
No00.00%

See also

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External links

References