Homestead exemption passes committee

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by Jessica Sabbath

The Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections sent a proposal to reduce homeowners’ real estate taxes for consideration by the full Senate despite a push against it by the business lobby.

The bill, which has already passed the full House of Delegates, would go to voters in November because it would require a constitutional amendment. Under the plan, localities would be able to exempt up to 20 percent of a home or farm’s assessed value from real estate taxes.

The bill is designed to provide homeowners relief from skyrocketing real estate taxes, whose assessments skyrocketed more quickly than commercial properties.

Businesses are concerned not only because the change would shift the real estate tax burden to commercial property owners, but also out of fear that localities consider increasing other business taxes to make up for lost revenue.

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