HOUSE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 113
(By Delegates Fleischauer, Guthrie, Brown, Hatfield, Marshall, Poore, Morgan, Perdue, Armstead, Lane and Overington)
[Originating in the Committee on Constitutional Revision then referred to Finance.]
(February 16, 2012)
Proposing an amendment to the Constitution of the State of West Virginia, amending section one-b, article X thereof, relating to homestead exemption increase; numbering and 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 section one-b, article X thereof, be amended to read as follows:
ARTICLE X. TAXATION AND FINANCE.
§1b. Property tax limitation and homestead exemption amendment of 1982 2012.
Ad valorem property taxation shall be in accordance with this section and other applicable provisions of this article not inconsistent with this section.
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 the 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 the 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 1980, 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 in the appraisal 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 of the reappraisal.
Subsection C -- General Homestead Exemption
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution to the contrary, the first $20,000 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 is exempt from ad valorem property taxation, subject to such the requirements, limitations and conditions as shall be prescribed by general law.
Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution to the contrary, the Legislature, upon the application of any county, may increase the homestead exemption that is applied to qualifying residential property in such county, further subject to the assent of a majority of the voters in such county, so as to approve a homestead exemption in the county in an amount of no less than $20,000 and no greater than fifty percent of the average value of residential property in that county.
Any proposed increase in the homestead exemption may be applied to all qualifying residents in the county, or it may be based on need, and extended only to qualifying homeowners whose total household income is at or below certain income levels. The county’s proposed change to its homestead exemption must first be approved by the county commission, or by a tribunal established for that county in accordance with the provisions of section thirteen of article IX of this constitution, before the county’s petition may be filed with the Legislature.
As a part of its petition to the Legislature, the county must identify how the county proposes to replace or address any associated reduction in local, county and state tax revenues. The Legislature may reject, reform, alter or modify any proposed increased homestead exemption before any modified homestead exemption is placed before the county voters at an election for approval. The county’s voters must approve the modified homestead exemption by a majority of the voters of the county voting at such an election before any modified homestead exemption may be placed into effect. Under no circumstances may the homestead exemption extended to qualifying homeowners be less than $20,000, regardless of means.
Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution to the contrary, the Legislature shall have has 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 or her 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 the general law, this exemption shall only apply to such only applies to the property in any county in which the property was appraised at its value as of January 1, 1980, or thereafter after that, as determined by the Legislature, and this exemption shall be phased in over such a period of time not to exceed five years from the date such the property was so appraised, or such a longer time as the Legislature may determine by general law: Provided, however, That in no event shall may any one person and his or her spouse, or one homestead be entitled to more than one exemption under these provisions: Provided further, That if property is owned by a husband and wife as joint tenants with 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 this section for as long as such surviving spouse occupies the property as his or her residence and the property is exclusively used for residential purposes: And provided further, That these provisions are subject to such the requirements, limitations and conditions as shall be prescribed by general law.
The Legislature shall have has 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 -- Additional Limitations on Value
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.
Subsection E -- 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 the 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 is approved by the required number of voters, impose such the levy, subject however to all the limitations and requirements for the approval of such the 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 the 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 the portions of the power to lay authorized excess levies as it may deem considers 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 the statewide excess levy shall be deposited in the State Treasury and be allocated first for the local obligations assumed and thereafter after that 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 does not in any way abrogate or impair any local existing excess levy for such that purpose nor prevent the adoption of any future local excess levy for such that purpose.
Subsection F -- 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 has 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 proposed amendment is hereby numbered "Amendment No. 2" 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 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."
NOTE: The purpose of this amendment is extend the homestead exemption to a surviving spouse who is under sixty-five years of age and not totally disabled under certain circumstances after the death of the qualifying spouse; and to allow each county the option to increase the homestead exemption from $20,000 to an amount not more than fifty percent of the average residential property value, subject to legislative review and approval, and subject to approval by a majority of the county’s voters voting at an election.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present Constitution, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.