Tuesday, November 2, 2010

About the Three Constitutional Amendments

Words Mean Things... Tom White Translates

This Analysis from Virginia Right [click to read] will help you understand the proposed amendments. I voted "NO" on all three this morning.

Question 1:

Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia 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 homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently and totally disabled?

Question 2:

Shall the Constitution 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?

Tom writes: "These amendments are simply shifting the approval of these tax breaks from the Virginia Legislature to the local Board of Supervisors in each locality. If these measures shifted powers from federal to state or local level, they would be a good thing.

But all they are actually doing is allowing local Boards to bypass the oversight the Virginia Constitution put in place. Localities can still do these things now if they so decide, but they must seek approval from the state legislators. This is a wise check and balance and should not be changed.

Most agree that taxes should be both fair and equal. If a locality decides that some people deserve inequitable tax treatment, oversight is a good idea. While removing or reducing taxes based on age or ability is a noble thing, it must be balanced with fact that you are simply shifting the tax burden to others."

Question 3:

Shall Section 8 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia 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 Commonwealth’s average annual tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?

Sounds really fiscally responsible, Right? Tom points out that this is simply allowing the government to overtax us and not account for it. Remembering how VDOT suddenly found it had saved all that money after all, let's just say I'm skeptical at this point.

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