WEST virginia legislature
2019 regular session
House Joint Resolution 18
By Delegates Howell, Rowan, Anderson, Sponaugle, Williams, Hartman, Barrett, Butler, Hill, and Maynard
January 22, 2019; Referred
to the Committee on Finance then Judiciary]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia amending section 1b, article X thereof, relating to providing property tax relief to senior citizens and certain disabled veterans; providing a maximum assessed value of a residential property owned by a senior citizen for purposes of determining property taxes; authorizing a total exemption for the principal residence of an honorably discharged veteran who is totally and permanently disabled due to a service-connected incident; numbering and designating the proposed amendment; and providing a summarized statement of the purpose of such proposed amendment.
Resolved by the Legislature of West Virginia, two-thirds of the members elected to each house agreeing thereto:
That the question of ratification or rejection of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia be submitted to the voters of the state at the next general election to be held in the year 2020, which proposed amendment is that section 1b, article X thereof be amended, to read as follows:
Property tax limitation and homestead exemption amendment.
Subsection A -- Value; Rate of Assessment; Exceptions
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution and except as otherwise provided in this section, all property subject to ad valorem taxation shall be assessed at sixty percent of its value, as directed to be ascertained in this section, except that the Legislature may from time to time, by general law agreed to by two-thirds of the members elected to each house, establish a higher percentage for the purposes of this paragraph, which percentage shall be uniform as to all classes of property defined in section one of this article, but not more than one hundred percent of such value.
Notwithstanding the foregoing, for the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred eighty-two, and the first day of July of each year thereafter until the values may be fixed as a result of the first statewide reappraisal hereinafter required, assessments shall be made under the provisions of current statutory law, which is hereby validated for such purpose until and unless amended by the Legislature. Assessment and taxation in accord with this section shall be deemed to be equal and uniform for all purposes.
Subsection B -- Determination of Value
The Legislature shall provide by general law for periodic statewide reappraisal of all property, which reappraisal shall be related for all property to a specified base year which, as to each such reappraisal, shall be uniform for each appraisal for all classes of property and all counties. In such law, the Legislature shall provide for consideration of (1) trends in market values over a fixed period of years prior to the base year, (2) the location of the property, and (3) such other factors and methods as it may determine: Provided, That with respect to reappraisal of all property upon the base year of one thousand nine hundred eighty, such reappraisals are deemed to be valid and in compliance with this section: Provided, however, That with respect to farm property, as defined from time to time by the Legislature by general law, the determination of value shall be according to its fair and reasonable value for farming purposes, as may be defined by general law.
The results of each statewide appraisal shall upon completion be certified and published and errors therein may be corrected, all as provided by general law. The first such statewide appraisal shall be completed, certified and published on or before the thirty-first day of March, one thousand nine hundred eighty-five, for use when directed by the Legislature.
The Legislature shall further prescribe by general law the manner in which each statewide reappraisal shall be employed to establish the value of the various separately assessed parcels or interests in parcels of real property and various items of personal property subject to ad valorem property taxation, the methods by which increases and reductions in value subsequent to the base year of each statewide reappraisal shall be ascertained, and require the enforcement thereof.
Subsection C -- General Homestead Exemption
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution to the contrary, the first twenty thousand dollars of assessed valuation of any real property, or of personal property in the form of a mobile home, used exclusively for residential purposes and occupied by the owner or one of the owners thereof as his or her residence who is a citizen of this state and who is sixty-five years of age or older or is permanently and totally disabled as that term may be defined by the Legislature, shall be exempt from ad valorem property taxation, subject to such requirements, limitations and conditions as shall be prescribed by general law.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution to the contrary, the Legislature shall have the authority to provide by general law for an exemption from ad valorem property taxation in an amount not to exceed the first twenty thousand dollars of value of any real property, or of personal property in the form of a mobile home, used exclusively for residential purposes and occupied by the owner or one of the owners thereof as his residence who is a citizen of this state, and who is under sixty-five years of age and not totally and permanently disabled: Provided, That upon enactment of such general law, this exemption shall only apply to such property in any county in which the property was appraised at its value as of the first day of January, one thousand nine hundred eighty, or thereafter, as determined by the Legislature, and this exemption shall be phased in over such period of time not to exceed five years from the date such property was so appraised, or such longer time as the Legislature may determine by general law: Provided, however, That in no event shall any one person and his spouse, or one homestead be entitled to more than one exemption under these provisions: Provided further, That these provisions are subject to such requirements, limitations and conditions as shall be prescribed by general law.
The Legislature shall have the authority to provide by general law for property tax relief to citizens of this state who are tenants of residential or farm property.
Subsection D – Homestead Valuation for Senior Citizens
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution to the contrary, real property, or personal property in the form of a mobile home, used exclusively for residential purposes, as such term is defined by general law, and occupied by the owner or one of the owners thereof as his or her principal residence who is a citizen of this state, and who is sixty-five years of age or older, shall have its ad valorem property taxation rate calculated using an assessed monetary value no greater than the assessed monetary value of the property at the time the owner occupant reached the age of sixty-five or took up occupancy on the property, whichever occurred later, subject to such requirements, limitations and conditions as shall be prescribed by general law.
Subsection E – Homestead Exemption for Disabled Veterans
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution to the contrary, real property, or personal property in the form of a mobile home, used exclusively for residential purposes, as such term is defined by general law, and occupied by the owner, or one of the owners thereof, as his or her principal residence, and whose owner is: (1) a citizen of this state, (2) a veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States, (3) has been honorably discharged, and (4) is determined to be totally and permanently disabled due to a service-connected incident, is exempt from ad valorem property taxation on the full amount of assessed value, subject to requirements, limitations and conditions as may be prescribed by general law: Provided, That the exemption provided by this subsection shall apply to only one parcel of real property used as the veteran’s primary residence.
D F -- Additional Limitations on
With respect to the first statewide reappraisal, pursuant to this section, the resulting increase in value in each and every parcel of land or interest therein and various items of personal property subject to ad valorem property taxation over and above the previously assessed value shall be allocated over a period of ten years in equal amounts annually.
The Legislature may by general law also provide for the phasing in of any subsequent statewide reappraisal of property.
E G -- Levies for Free Schools
In equalizing the support of free schools provided by state and local taxes, the Legislature may require that the local school districts levy all or any portion of the maximum levies allowed under section one of this article which has been allocated to such local school districts.
Within the limits of the maximum levies permitted for excess levies for schools or better schools in sections one and ten of this article, the Legislature may, in lieu of the exercise of such powers by the local school districts as heretofore provided, submit to the voters, by general law, a statewide excess levy, and if it be approved by the required number of voters, impose such levy, subject however to all the limitations and requirements for the approval of such levies as in the case of a district levy. The law submitting the question to the voters shall provide, upon approval of the levy by the voters, for the assumption of the obligation of any local excess levies for schools then in force theretofore authorized by the voters of a local taxing unit to the extent of such excess levies imposed by the state and so as to avoid double taxation of those local districts. The Legislature may also by general law reserve to the school districts such portions of the power to lay authorized excess levies as it may deem appropriate to enable local school districts to provide educational services which are not required to be furnished or supported by the state. If a statewide excess levy for the support of free schools is approved by the required majority, the revenue from such a statewide excess levy shall be deposited in the state treasury and be allocated first for the local obligations assumed and thereafter for such part of the state effort to support free schools, by appropriation or as the law submitting the levy to the voters shall require, as the case may be.
The defeat of any such proposed statewide excess levy for school purposes shall not in any way abrogate or impair any local existing excess levy for such purpose nor prevent the adoption of any future local excess levy for such purpose.
F H – Implementation
In the event of any inconsistency between any of the provisions of this section and other provisions of this Constitution, the provisions of this section shall prevail. The Legislature shall have plenary power to provide by general law for the equitable application of this article and, as to taxes to be assessed prior to the first statewide reappraisal, to make such laws retroactive to the first day of July, one thousand nine hundred eighty-two, or thereafter.
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, such amendment is hereby numbered “Amendment No. 1” and designated as the “Property Tax Relief for Seniors and Disabled Veterans Amendment” and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: “To amend the State Constitution to exempt from property tax the principal residence of a veteran who was totally and permanently disabled in the service of his or her country and to lock the value of a homestead property owned by a citizen 65 years of age or older, for the purpose of calculating property taxes, at no more than the assessed value when the owner occupier turned 65 or purchased the property, whichever occurred later.”
NOTE: The purpose of this resolution is to propose a constitutional amendment that would lock the value of a homestead property owned by a senior citizen at no more than the assessed value when he or she turned 65 or purchased the property whichever is later and to exempt from property tax the principal residence of a veteran who was totally and permanently disabled in service to our country.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.