For the second consecutive year, Loudoun state Del. David Ramadan's proposal to exempt military widows and widowers from paying property taxes advanced through the General Assembly without an opposition vote from any of Ramadan's Richmond colleagues.
The measure, following the signature of Gov. Terry McAuliffe, will be placed on the ballot for referendum in this November's election. If the proposal is approved by majority vote, the law will go into effect in January 2015.
“It's not often you can amend the Constitution of Virginia, and to potentially do that with the full support of my colleagues in the General Assembly, it's a great feeling,” Ramadan (R-87th) said.
The constitutional amendment resolution, HJ 8, and its complementary bill, HB 46, provide “that the General Assembly may provide a real property tax exemption for the primary residence of surviving spouses of members of the military who are killed in action. Such tax exemption may not be claimed by a surviving spouse who has remarried,” according to a summary legislation.
Any measure lifting property taxes in Virginia must be enacted through a state constitutional amendment, which must be approved in two consecutive sessions of the General Assembly and then passed by the commonwealth's voters through referendum.
Ramadan said his legislation is simply the “right thing to do.”
“I’m sorry, 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 when discussing the bill in 2013. “Especially that we already exempted the disabled veteran’s taxes. It’s a slap in the face for the people that have died.”
The measure regulates the tax exemption so the value of the qualified property doesn't exceed the average price of single family homes in the county, according to Ramadan.