I came across this proposed constitutional amendment that Sandy’s Favorite Democrat, State Senator Chap Petersen, introduced this session of the General Assembly:
TAXATION AND FINANCE
Section 1. Taxable property; uniformity; classification and segregation.
All property, except as hereinafter provided, shall be taxed. All taxes shall be levied and collected under general laws and shall be uniform upon the same class of subjects within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, except that the General Assembly may provide for differences in the rate of taxation to be imposed upon real estate by a city or town within all or parts of areas added to its territorial limits, or by a new unit of general government, within its area, created by or encompassing two or more, or parts of two or more, existing units of general government. Such differences in the rate of taxation shall bear a reasonable relationship to differences between nonrevenue producing governmental services giving land urban character which are furnished in one or several areas in contrast to the services furnished in other areas of such unit of government.
The General Assembly may by general law and within such restrictions and upon such conditions as may be prescribed authorize the governing body of any county, city, town or regional government to provide for differences in the rate of taxation imposed upon tangible personal property owned by persons not less than sixty-five years of age or persons permanently and totally disabled as established by general law who are deemed by the General Assembly to be bearing an extraordinary tax burden on said tangible personal property in relation to their income and financial worth.
The General Assembly may define and classify taxable subjects. Except as to classes of property herein expressly segregated for either State or local taxation, the General Assembly may segregate the several classes of property so as to specify and determine upon what subjects State taxes, and upon what subjects local taxes, may be levied.
No tax credit enacted by the General Assembly shall remain in effect longer than five years unless it is reenacted by the General Assembly prior to such expiration date. Any tax credit enacted prior to January 1, 2014, shall remain in effect no later than January 1, 2019, unless it is reenacted by the General Assembly prior to that date and no later than each fifth year thereafter.
The italicized language is the proposed addition. It would require all tax credits to have a sunset clause to require the General Assembly to reenact the tax credit if it is still necessary. There are too many tax credits that are either corporate welfare or public-private partnerships and thus we need to get them off the books. Taxes should be uniform and fair to all Virginians. This amendment will do exactly that.
This is another example of why I admire Senator Petersen. He is trying to get something done, cross party lines, and has a whole raft of new ideas (of which his appellate defender bill is only one! That bill will be in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee very shortly. If you know a senator on that committee, get in touch right away and support that bill! SB 738.) Senator Petersen also has a proposed constitutional amendment on restoring felons their voting rights, a concept that Governor McDonnell has supported!