Republicans Kill Bills To Provide Property Tax Relief For Struggling Virginians
(Richmond, Va.) – In a move that shows the Republicans in the Senate are more concerned about partisanship than tax cuts for their constituents, the Republicans in the Senate block voted to kill House Bill 11 and House Joint Resolution 4 that would have provided property tax relief to struggling Virginians throughout the Commonwealth.
Earlier this year Republicans in the Senate voted along party lines to defeat Senator Mary Margaret Whipple’s (D-Arlington) property tax relief bills in committee, which were identical to the bills defeated today.
House Bill 11and House Joint Resolution 4, both introduced by Delegate Dave Albo (R-Fairfax), would have put to the voters of Virginia this November a question about whether to amend the Virginia Constitution to allow local governments to reduce property taxes for owner-occupied residential or farm property by up to 20 percent of the assessed value.
Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) spoke on the floor about the property tax relief bills that Senate Republicans have killed throughout the General Assembly Session.
“This a tax cut for those folks who can’t afford a lobbyist,” he said.
Senator Ken Stolle (R-Virginia Beach) made a motion on the floor of the Senate to re-commit HB 11 and HJR 4 back to committee.
“A vote to send this back to committee is a vote to kill it,” Senator Janet Howell (D-Fairfax), chair of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, said on the floor of the Senate.
House Joint Resolution 4 passed the House by a vote of 96 – 0 and passed through the Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections by a vote of 11 – 4.
House Bill 11 passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 99 – 0 and passed through the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee 14 – 1.
All six Republican Senators on the committee voted for HB 11 in Committee.
The bill was re-committed to that Committee on Senator Ken Stolle’s motion with Senators Stephen Martin (R-Chesterfield), Ken Stolle, Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg), Harry Blevins(R-Chesapeake), Ralph Smith (R-Botetourt) and Jill Holtzman-Vogel (R-Faquier) all changing their votes on the floor of the Senate to kill the bill.
The motion to re-commit ended the session-long efforts by Senate Democrats to cut taxes for Virginians.
“It does not matter whether a bill was sponsored by a Democrat or Republican,” Senator Ralph Northam (D-Norfolk), who also introduced a bill to cut property taxes, said. “If it helps provide homeowners tax relief – homeowners who have been struggling to stay in their homes due to skyrocketing property taxes – everyone should have voted for these bills.”
“These were important bills for the taxpayers of Virginia,” Whipple, the Virginia Senate Democratic Caucus chair said. “These would have given local governments flexibility to cut property taxes by up to 20 percent, and the Republicans clearly chose partisanship over providing badly needed tax cuts for their constituents.”
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