Bal­lot is­sues

Amend­ments have tax im­pli­ca­tions.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - BY GRA­HAM MOOMAW gmoomaw@timesdis­patch.com (804) 649-6839 Twit­ter: @gmoomaw

They won’t be the big­gest is­sues at stake in the con­gres­sional midterms, but Vir­ginia vot­ers will be asked to weigh in Tues­day on two tax ques­tions with im­pli­ca­tions for mil­i­tary spouses and home­own­ers who live in flood-prone ar­eas.

Af­ter fill­ing in the bub­bles for their pre­ferred can­di­dates, vot­ers will see two pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments on the bal­lot, both deal­ing with tar­geted tax breaks.

The Gen­eral As­sem­bly has ad­vanced the pro­pos­als two years in a row with broad bi­par­ti­san sup­port, and now vot­ers will have the fi­nal say on whether the Vir­ginia Con­sti­tu­tion should be changed to al­low tax ex­emp­tions for cer­tain prop­erty own­ers.

Bal­lot ques­tion one would let lo­cal gov­ern­ments cre­ate par­tial tax ex­emp­tions for fil­ers who take steps to flood-proof a prop­erty that’s fre­quently at risk of flood­ing. The con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment would give cities and coun­ties the power to pass such tax ex­emp­tions, but lo­cal of­fi­cials would de­cide the spe­cific rules.

The sec­ond bal­lot ques­tion is a more tech­ni­cal change to a prop­erty tax ex­emp­tion meant to help mil­i­tary spouses.

The Vir­ginia Con­sti­tu­tion cur­rently lets sur­viv­ing spouses of per­ma­nently dis­abled vet­er­ans claim a tax ex­emp­tion for their pri­mary home, as long as they don’t move to a new house. Un­der the pro­posed amend­ment, sur­viv­ing spouses could con­tinue to claim the tax ex­emp­tion if they move.

Be­cause the ex­emp­tion ap­plies to lo­cal prop­erty taxes, there is no statewide data on how many peo­ple claim it.

DANIEL SANGJIB MIN/TIMES-DIS­PATCH

Vir­ginia vot­ers will see two pro­posed con­sti­tu­tional amend­ments on the bal­lot.

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