Several members of the West Virginia House of Delegates introduced a resolution Feb. 8 that aims to increase the state’s homestead tax exemption.
The proposal came in the form of House Joint Resolution 107, which lead sponsor Delegate Phil Mallow, R-Marion, said would reduce the property taxes for the West Virginians who need it most: retirees and seniors between the ages of 65 and 80.
“Here in the West Virginia Legislature, we are constantly looking for ways to give back to our senior citizens,” Mallow said. “As property taxes keep going up and our seniors receive very little, if any, financial increases in their monthly incomes, it is imperative we help them out in any way possible.
“These folks who are challenged monthly by their limited incomes need help to meet their expenses and make their quality of life a little bit better,” Mallow said.
HJR107, if adopted by the Legislature, would propose an amendment to the West Virginia Constitution. Voters then would be asked during the 2022 General Election to vote on the potential amendment, which would increase the current homestead tax exemption rate by $20,000 for every five years of the age of the homeowner until the person reaches age 80 and the maximum exemption of $80,000.
The current homestead tax exemption allows for the first $20,000 of assessed value of a home to be exempt from property tax when that home is occupied by an owner aged 65 or older or an owner who is permanently and totally disabled.
Nine Delegates signed on to the proposal as co-sponsors: Delegate Austin Haynes, R-Fayette; Delegate Trenton Barnhart, R-Pleasants; Delegate Roger Conley, R-Wood; Delegate George Miller, R-Morgan; Delegate Josh Holstein, R-Boone; Delegate Charlie Reynolds, R-Marshall; House Majority Leader Amy Summers, R-Taylor; Delegate John Mandt, R-Cabell; and Delegate Josh Booth, R-Wayne.
Many co-sponsors of HRJ107 expressed their thoughts on the importance of the proposal:
“Since my first days in the House of Delegates, I’ve had many priorities, but among the top has been helping our seniors,” said Barnhart. “This is a wonderful bill that will help our seniors, and I enthusiastically support it.”
“Giving back to our taxpayers is a commitment many of us made during our campaigns,” Conley said. “I think we need to start with our great senior citizens. We now have a very healthy surplus, and I would submit that the time is now.”
“I made a promise to my constituents that I would work hard to increase the amount of the homestead exemption,” said Haynes. “This piece of legislation will directly benefit so many folks in our state who put in their years of service to build our state and our country; it’s time to give back to them.”
“Increasing the homestead exemption will help alleviate the burdens of inflation, skyrocketing utility rates and cost-of-living expenses by allowing our seniors to keep more of their hard-earned money,” said Holstein. “The sponsors of this bill are dedicated to providing tax relief to all our citizens, especially our senior citizens, who unfortunately sometimes get overlooked.”
“As prices continue to rise, those on Social Security have less expendable money in their pockets,” Mandt said. “The adoption of this resolution would help lighten the burden of those continued rising expenses.”
“This homestead act is a good bill for our seniors,” Miller said. “It’s never easy to take the first steps toward tax relief, but we need more bills like this.”
“It is time for West Virginia to help its seniors,” said Reynolds. “The homestead exemption is a good start for our seniors who truly are the backbone of our country. They’ve worked hard and deserve better.”
HJR107 has been referred to the House Finance Committee and House Judiciary Committee for consideration. The regular legislative session ends at midnight Mar. 12.