Virginians pass two state constitutional amendments

Both amendments were approved by large margins

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The first amendment, regarding partial tax exemption for flood resiliency improvements to property, was approved by 70 percent of voters while the second amendment, extending property tax exemption to relocated primary residences for the surviving spouse of a veteran disabled by service, was supported by 84 percent of voters.

Courtesy Flickr / Penn State News

Voters in Virginia overwhelmingly approved the two state constitutional amendments on the ballot Tuesday.

The first amendment question on the ballot — which authorizes the provision of partial tax exemption for property which has undergone flood resiliency improvements — was approved by 70 percent of voters with about 99 percent of precincts reporting. The second amendment — authorizing property tax exemption on the primary residence for the surviving spouse of a veteran who sustained a fully service-related disability even if they relocate their primary residence — was supported by 84 percent of voters with 98 percent of precincts reporting.

The Constitution of Virginia generally requires that all property must be taxed. It allows for specific instances of property tax exemption, such as localities granting partial exemption from real estate taxes to incentivize property owners to significantly improve existing structures by rebuilding, rehabilitating or replacing them. 

The newly-passed amendment authorizes the General Assembly to permit localities to offer partial tax exemptions for real property subject to persistent flooding, so long as improvements have been made to that property to address the issue and risk of flooding.

The Constitution of Virginia also requires the General Assembly to exempt from taxation the primary residence of a veteran who has, as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, sustained a 100 percent service-related permanent and total disability. This property tax exemption is granted to the surviving spouse of such a veteran so long as they continue to occupy that property as their primary residence.

The amendment passed Tuesday will allow the surviving spouse of any veteran who has, as determined by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, sustained a 100 percent service-related permanent and total disability to maintained tax exemption status on their primary residence, even if they move to a new principal place of residence.

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