Virginia Amendment 2 (2002)

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Virginia Amendment 2, also known as the Exempt Property Act, was on the 2002 election ballot in Virginia. It passed, with 68.7% of voters in favor.

Text of measure

The language that appeared on the ballot:

Generally, the Constitution provides that all property shall be taxed and then provides how various types of property may be exempted from taxes. This amendment changes how certain types of property may be exempted from taxes.

Subsection (a) (6) of Article X, Section 6, now provides that the General Assembly may exempt property "used by its owner for religious, charitable, patriotic, historical, benevolent, cultural, or public park and playground purposes."

This subsection provides that the General Assembly may exempt this category of property in either of two ways -- classification or designation. First, it may pass a law to exempt property belonging to a class or type of organization. It has passed a number of these laws. For example, it has exempted the real and personal property that belongs to non-profit volunteer fire departments and rescue squads and is used for the benefit of the general public.

Second, it may pass a law to exempt the property of a designated non-profit organization. It has passed hundreds of these laws to exempt the property of specific, named organizations. The General Assembly requires a resolution by the local governing body in support of the exemption.

The proposed amendment authorizes the local governing body to exempt such property by an ordinance and eliminates the need for action by the General Assembly. The amendment provides that the local governing body may adopt an ordinance to exempt property "used by its owner for religious, charitable, patriotic, historical, benevolent, cultural, or public park and playground purposes." The General Assembly will continue to have authority to enact laws setting out restrictions and conditions on these tax exemptions.

A vote to approve this proposed amendment will provide for these tax exemptions to be authorized by the local governing body rather than by the General Assembly. If the voters approve the proposed amendment, it will take effect January 1, 2003.

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