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Sun Gazette: Hope Seeks Tax Exemption for Free Clinics Print


Created:  Tuesday, January 1, 2013


A proposal by Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) would amend the Virginia Constitution to provide exemption from real estate taxes on properties owned by non-profit medical clinics that provide health-care services without charge to the indigent.

"I'm hopeful the General Assembly will see the importance of adding this provision to the Constitution," Hope told the Sun Gazette.

"Many non-profit hospitals already are exempt from property taxes, in recognition of the significant care they provide to the poor," he said. "No one provides more charity care to the low-income and uninsured than free clinics, and I don't believe they should be treated any differently."

Amending Virginia's Constitution is a four-step process: A proposed amendment must be adopted by both houses of the General Assembly; a state election must intervene; the exact same measure must be adopted again by the new legislature; and then voters must approve it in a referendum.

If Hope's measure wins support this year, the earliest it could be voted on would be November 2014.

"If it makes it to voters, I'm confident it would pass," Hope said.