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Virginia Property Tax Exemption for Elderly and Disabled, Question 1 (2010)

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Virginia Property Tax Exemption for Elderly and Disabled, Question 1 appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved.

The amendment asked voters if they would approve or reject a property tax exemption for residents 65 or older or with disabilities that were permanent. It also mandated that homeowners show that they had a tax burden on their property in relation to their income in order to receive such exemptions. The measure was approved for the ballot on April 11, 2010 when Governor Bob McDonnell signed the proposed constitutional amendment.[1][2]

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Question 1 (Elderly and Disabled Property Tax Exemption)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,584,892 75.9%
No502,82824.1%

Source: Virginia State Board of Elections. The results were certified on November 22, 2010[3].

Text of measure

Title

The ballot question read:[2]

Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation that will permit localities to establish their own income or financial worth limitations for purposes of granting property tax relief for homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled?

Constitutional changes

See also: Virginia Question 1 (2010), constitutional text changes

The measure amended Section 6 of Article X of the Virginia Constitution. The proposed changes can be read here.

Summary

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The following is the official summary written by the Virginia Board of Elections:

Present law

Under the Virginia Constitution, the General Assembly may give localities the power to grant full or partial exemptions from real estate taxes to persons 65 years of age or older or for persons permanently and totally disabled. The exemption applies to owner-occupied property used as the sole dwelling of such persons. The exemption is currently available only to such persons who bear "an extraordinary tax burden" in relation to their income and financial worth[4].

Proposed amendment

The proposed amendment removes the requirement that tax exemptions are available only to such persons who bear "an extraordinary tax burden," and gives the General Assembly authority to permit localities to determine their own income or financial worth limitations for tax exemptions for persons 65 years of age or older or for persons permanently and totally disabled[4].

Support

  • Arlington County Democratic Committee[5].
  • Republican Party of Virginia[6]

Opposition

There were no committees or organizations in opposition to Question 1.

Nonpartisan ratings

National Taxpayers Union

Although the National Taxpayers Union did not officially endorse Question 1, the organization rated the measure in its 2010 voter guide as one that could control taxes and spending.[7]

Campaign contributions

There were no committees registered with the Virginia State Board of Elections during the 2010 election cycle to support or oppose the measure[8].

According to state law, any organization that planned to influence a statewide measure was not required to register with the State Board of Elections until meeting the minimum $10,000 registration threshold. A committee, however, was required to register with the Board if they planned to raise or spend more than $10,000[9]. The $10,000 threshold had been in law since 2004[10].

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Virginia ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Loudon Times supported Question 1. The newspaper supported property tax exemptions for the elderly and disabled and returning control of taxing decisions to local governments. Also, The Times supported minimizing the tax burden for vulnerable segments of society including the elderly[11].
  • The Virginian Pilot (Hampton Roads) supported Question 1. The newspaper's editorial board said that Question 1 should be supported by voters. Also, The Pilot felt that local governments should be able to set terms on property tax exemptions for the elderly and disiabled[12].
  • The Washington Post supported Question 1. The newspaper's editorial board cited their support for Question 1 on giving local governments more power on setting property tax exemptions for the elderly and disabled. The Post also argued that the previous procedure of having local governments getting approval from the General Assembly to set exemptions is cumbersome[13].

Opposition

There were no newspaper editorial boards opposed to Question 1.

Path to the ballot

See also: Virginia legislatively-referred constitutional amendments

A majority vote was required (in two successive sessions) of the Virginia General Assembly. The House version of the bill passed unanimously on a 98-0 vote on February 3, 2010, and passed the Virginia State Senate on a 39-0 vote on February 26, 2010. The measure was approved for the ballot on April 11, 2010 when Governor Bob McDonnell signed the proposed constitutional amendment.[1]

See also

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