Voters to decide on constitutional amendments

Published 10:42 am Saturday, October 30, 2010

FRANKLIN—On Tuesday, Nov. 2, Virginia voters will vote on three proposed amendments to the state’s constitution, two involving property tax relief and the other aimed at increasing the size of the state’s “rainy day” fund.

One proposed amendment would require the General Assembly to pass a law exempting veterans disabled while serving in the military from paying local taxes on their primary home.

Currently, the state constitution does not grant real estate tax exemptions to veterans. Southampton County Supervisor Walt Brown said the exemption is “long overdue.”

Brown, a veteran who wouldn’t qualify for the tax exemption, said it should also be extended to “any first responder that is 100 percent disabled because of services rendered to this country.”

Another proposed amendment would give the General Assembly authority to permit localities to determine their own financial worth limitations for tax exemptions for people 65 or older or for the permanently and totally disabled.

Currently, the General Assembly may give localities the power to grant full or partial exemptions from real estate taxes to people 65 or older or those who are permanently and totally disabled if they bear “an extraordinary tax burden” in relation to their income and financial worth.

Another proposed amendment would increase the maximum size of the state’s Revenue Stabilization Fund, or “rainy day fund,” from

10 percent to 15 percent of the state’s average annual tax revenues from income and sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years.

The “rainy day fund” is used to offset shortfalls in anticipated revenues and is designed to provide a cushion in the event of an economic downtown.

Voters in Franklin and Southampton and Isle of Wight counties will also choose a representative for the 4th Congressional District. Incumbent Republican U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes is facing Democratic challenger Wynne LeGrow.

Polls are open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m.