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Virginia Revenue Stabilization Fund Amendment, Question 3 (2010)

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Virginia Revenue Stabilization Fund Amendment appeared on the November 2, 2010 statewide ballot as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where the measure was approved.[1][2].

Virginia was one of five states that put a ballot question involving revenue stabilization or rainy day funds on the November 2010 ballot.

Election results

See also: 2010 ballot measure election results
Question 3 (Stabilization Fund)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 1,059,696 51.15%
No1,011,96348.84%

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 8 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to increase the permissible size of the Revenue Stabilization Fund (also known as the "rainy day fund") from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth's average annual tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?

Constitutional changes

See also: Virginia Question 3 (2010), constitutional text changes

The measure amended Section 8 of Article X of the Virginia Constitution. The proposed changes can be read here.

Summary

The following is the official summary of the proposed amendment from the Virginia State Board of Elections.

Present law

The Revenue Stabilization Fund is used to offset shortfalls in anticipated revenues in any given year, and is designed to provide a cushion in the event of an economic downturn. The Virginia Constitution currently limits the Fund to 10 percent of the Commonwealth's average annual tax revenues from income and sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years.[4]

Proposed amendment

The proposed constitutional amendment increases the maximum size of the fund from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth's average annual tax revenues from income and sales taxes for the previous three fiscal years[4].

Support

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

Opposition

There were no committees or organizations in opposition to Question 3.

Non-partisan ratings

National Taxpayers Union

Though the National Taxpayers Union did not officially endorse Question 3, the organization rated the measure as one that could control taxes and spending in its 2010 voter guide[7].

Campaign contributions

There have were no committees registered to support or oppose the referendum[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 Virginian Pilot (Hampton Roads) supported Question 3. The newspaper's editorial board said that voter approval of Question 3 would allow the state's rainy day fund to be better positioned for another economic downturn. However, they dismissed the notion that expanding the Rainy Day Fund to $2 billion is realistic. At the time, the size of the Rainy Day Fund was $295 million[11].
  • The Washington Post supported Question 3. The editorial board favored raising the required percentage in the rainy day fund from ten to fifteen percent[12].

Opposition

  • The Loudoun Times opposed Question 3. The editorial board said that they agreed with making sure there was enough money in the rainy day fund to weather an economic downturn, however the board found no evidence that would support increasing the size of the fund[13].

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 and the Virginia State Senate voted in favor of the proposed measure on March 10, 2010.[14]

See also

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