In November, Virginians will vote on constitutional amendment related to vehicle property taxes paid by disabled veterans

On March 3, 2020, the Virginia State Senate passed a constitutional amendment, which electors will vote on at the general election. The constitutional amendment would exempt one automobile or pickup truck from state and local property taxes for veterans who have a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability.

In Virginia, local governments can assess annual taxes on personal vehicles based on their value. In Fairfax County, for example, the property tax on most vehicles is $4.57 per $100 of assessed value. A vehicle valued at $10,000 would be taxed $457 as personal property. Veterans with 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disabilities would be exempt from this annual tangible property tax on vehicles under this constitutional amendment.

In the state Senate, the vote was unanimous. In the state House, where the constitutional amendment was approved last month, the vote was 91 to 4. At least 51 votes were needed in the state House.

In Virginia, a constitutional amendment needs to be passed by a simple majority vote in both chambers of the state legislature over two consecutive legislative sessions to be certified for the ballot. Republicans controlled both chambers of the state legislature in 2019, when the constitutional amendment was first approved. In 2020, Democrats control both legislative chambers. The constitutional amendment is one of three that the Republican-controlled legislature passed in 2019, and it is the first one also passed by the Democratic-controlled legislature in 2020. The legislature is scheduled to adjourn on March 8.

The other two constitutional amendments address congressional and state legislative redistricting. One amendment would transfer the power to draw the state’s congressional and legislative districts from the legislature to a redistricting commission composed of state legislators and citizens. It received bipartisan support in the Senate in 2019, but Democrats were divided in the House. The state Senate approved it for a second time in February 2020, but it hasn’t yet come up for a vote in the state House.

Since 1996, Virginia voters have decided 31 constitutional amendments. Twenty-seven (87.1 percent) of them were approved, and four (12.9 percent) were defeated. An average of three constitutional amendments appeared on general election ballots in Virginia.

Additional reading:
Virginia 2020 ballot measures