H. J. R. 113
(By Delegates Fleischauer, Guthrie, Brown, Hatfield, Marshall, Poore, Morgan, Perdue, Armstead, Lane and Overington)
(Originating in the Committee on Finance)
[February 23, 2012]
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending article X thereof by adding thereto a new section, designated section one-d, relating to the homestead exemption; authorizing an alternative amount or method of calculating the homestead exemption under certain circumstances; authorizing a surviving spouse to qualify for a homestead exemption under certain circumstances; designating such 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 2012, which proposed amendment is that article X thereof be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated section one-d, to read as follows:
ARTICLE X. TAXATION AND FINANCE.
§1d. Property tax limitation and homestead exemption amendment of 2012.
Subsection A - Increase in Homestead Exemption.
Notwithstanding any other provision of the Constitution to the contrary, the Legislature, upon the petition of a county, may approve an increase in the amount of exemption from ad valorem property taxation authorized in subsection C, section one-b of this Constitution, to apply in such county, subject to the approval of such increase by an election in the county, to an amount that is not less than $20,000 and not greater than fifty percent of the average appraised value of all real property and personal property in the form of a mobile home used exclusively for residential purposes in that county.
The county commission, or a tribunal established for that county in accordance with the provisions of section thirteen, article IX of this constitution, of a county petitioning to increase the amount of exemption pursuant to this section shall first approve a petition containing any proposed increase in exemption and submit such petition to the Legislature together with its proposal of how to replace or address any associated reduction in local, county and state tax revenues. A county may elect to propose an increase in exemption based on need and extended only to owners whose total household income is at or below certain income levels.
The Legislature may reject, reform, alter or modify any proposed increase in exemption. Upon approval of an increase in exemption, the county commission shall cause an election to be held to approve such increase. Upon approval by a majority of the qualified voters of the county voting in such election, the proposed increase in exemption will be effective July 1 of the year following the election, unless such later date is approved by the Legislature in its approval of the petition.
Subsection B - Eligibility of Surviving Spouse for Homestead Exemption.
If real or personal property which has qualified for the exemption authorized by subsection C, section one-b of this article or by subsection A of this section, is owned by a husband and wife as joint tenants with the right of survivorship and the spouse who qualifies for the exemption dies leaving a spouse who is under sixty-five years of age and not totally and permanently disabled, the surviving spouse is entitled to the exemption from ad valorem property taxation provided in subsection C, section one-b of this article or by subsection A of this section for such period as the surviving spouse occupies the property as his or her residence and the property is exclusively used for residential purposes.
Subsection C - Implementation.
The Legislature has plenary power to provide by general law for the application of this section.
Resolved further, That in accordance with the provisions of article eleven, chapter three of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, such proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 1" and designated as the "Homestead Exemption Increase Amendment" and the purpose of the proposed amendment is summarized as follows: "The purpose of this amendment is to extend the homestead exemption, under certain circumstances, after the death of a qualifying spouse to a surviving spouse who is under sixty-five years of age and not totally and permanently disabled; and to allow each county the opportunity to increase the homestead exemption from $20,000 up to an amount not to exceed fifty percent of the average residential property value in the county, subject to Legislative review and approval, and subject to approval by a majority of the county’s voters at an election."