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    Ramadan’s Constitutional amendment earns unanimous support

    A proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution, patroned by Del. David Ramadan (R-87), worked its way through the 2013 General Assembly session unscathed, passing both chambers without a single no vote.

    Only a relatively minor adjustment was made to Ramadan's House Joint Resolution 551, a Constitutional amendment providing a real property tax exemption for the residence of surviving spouses of servicemen or servicewomen killed in action. Members of a House committee amended Ramadan's measure to give localities the option to exempt military widows or widowers rather than mandating it.

    The state Senate passed the measure Feb. 15.

    Any legislation lifting property taxes on Virginians must be enacted through a Constitutional amendment, which must be approved in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and then passed by Virginia's voters through referendum. The 2013 session is the first for HJ 551, meaning the earliest the legislation could become law is in 2015.

    HJ 551 expands on 2010 legislation that exempted severely disabled veterans from paying property taxes. As with that law, the tax exemption would also apply to the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran, if they died after becoming disabled, as long as the spouse remain unmarried and live in the house.

    Ramadan told the Times-Mirror in December, " ... somebody gives the ultimate sacrifice and dies, the least I can do is not charge his wife or her husband taxes on their house,” Ramadan said. “Especially that we already exempted the disabled veteran’s taxes. It’s a slap in the face for the people that have died.”

    Contact the writer at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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