Wednesday, April 10, 2024

Virginia Governor Sends Daughters of Confederacy Tax Exemption Revocation Back to Legislature

The Controversial History Of The United Daughters Of The Confederacy

Earlier this year we reported that the Virginia legislature passed a bill revoking tax exemption for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society, and the Stonewall Jackson Memorial, Inc. Yesterday was the deadline for the Governor to sign, veto, or suggest amendments to the bill.  The Governor sent the bill back to the legislator with instructions to study the impact of the exemptions on government revenues:

3. That the Department of Taxation (the Department) shall study (i) exemptions to the state recordation tax and the effect of such exemptions on state government revenues and (ii) exemptions to real and personal property tax by classification or designation prior to and on July 1, 1971, and the effect of such exemptions on local government revenues. The Department shall submit a report to the Chairs of House Committee on Finance and the Senate Committee on Finance and Appropriations by November 1, 2024.

4. That the provisions of the first and second enactments of this act shall not become effective unless reenacted by the 2025 Session of the General Assembly.

The Washington Post reports that the Governor's action represents a "dodge" of the issue:

Confederate heritage. Youngkin dodged a couple of Confederate-related issues — one related to tax exemptions and the other to license plates — sending both topics to next year for further action and study.  One pair of identical bills — HB568 and SB517 — would strip away exemptions from state recordation taxes and real and personal property taxes for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the Confederate Memorial Literary Society and the Stonewall Jackson Memorial Inc. A Virginia Beach high school student brought the issue to the General Assembly after her lawyer father discovered the obscure part of state law. The measures passed on largely party-line votes, with all Democrats in favor and most Republicans opposed.

Youngkin proposed amending the bills to require the state tax department to study local impact and the General Assembly to consider them again next year. Del. Alex Q. Askew (D-Virginia Beach), who sponsored the House version, called Youngkin’s action “unacceptable” on the site X. “This is about fairness & fiscal responsibility,” Askew wrote. “We shouldn’t delay aligning our code with our values & vision for the Commonwealth.”

Youngkin also proposed amending HB812, sponsored by Del. Candi Mundon King (D-Prince William), which would ban further issuance of state license plates commemorating the Sons of Confederate Veterans or Gen. Robert E. Lee. The governor wants the state to study whether to set a “sunset” or expiration period for all commemorative plates and for the General Assembly to revisit this bill next year. “I’m not surprised Governor Youngkin won’t stand up to Confederate sympathizers,” Mundon King posted on X.

darryll k. jones

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