Constitutional amendments to be decided

- Posted on Oct 27, 2010 - 02:57 PM

The race for the 1st Congressional District isn’t the only thing that voters in Gloucester and Mathews counties will find on their ballots on Tuesday.

Virginia voters will also be asked to vote on three constitutional amendments: covering property tax relief, property tax relief for veterans with a 100 percent service-connected disability, and increasing the size of the state’s rainy day fund.

The first question asks if the Constitution of Virginia should 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 home-
owners not less than 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled.

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 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.

The second question asks voters if the Constitution of Virginia should be amended to require the General Assembly to provide a real property tax exemption for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100-percent service-connected, permanent and total disability.

The proposed 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 100-percent service-connected permanent and total disability. The veteran’s surviving spouse could continue to claim the exemption so long as she or he does not remarry and continues to occupy the home as his or her principal residence.

The third question asks voters if the state constitution should 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 state’s average annual tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years.

Additional information about these three Constitutional amendments is available on the State Board of Elections’ website at www.sbe.virginia.gov. The agency has distributed brochures explaining the amendments to all local general registrars.

"It is important for voters to have an opportunity to read before the election what constitutional amendments are being considered," said State Board of Election Secretary Nancy Rodrigues.