This election cycle, Louisiana voters will consider seven possible constitutional amendments. Each could have a lasting impact on our state.
Here are our positions on the amendments:
Constitutional Amendment #1: No Position
Constitutional Amendment #2: NO
This would change the way an oil well is assessed by local assessors. This creates a lot of uncertainly because local districts do not know how this amendment would impact their local tax revenue. It would increase property taxes for some parishes, but decrease revenue for others, and ultimately does not address the larger issues regarding industrial property taxes in Louisiana.
Constitutional Amendment #3: NO
This would allow the State’s Rainy-Day Fund to be tapped into when there is a federal declared disaster, as opposed to only being used when there is a revenue shortfall. This is could open the door for the fund to be misused, and ultimately such a change is unnecessary – this money is, and should continue to be, reserved for when Louisiana doesn’t have enough revenue to pay its obligations.
Constitutional Amendment #4: NO
This would change the way the State calculates anticipated revenue. It would restrict the Legislature’s flexibility in adapting a sensible future revenue projection. This change would lead to unwarranted cuts in public safety, funding for higher education, healthcare, early childhood education and infrastructure such as roads and bridges. It would also make it more difficult to invest in our future education needs such as birth to 3-year education, teacher pay and reliable broadband connectivity and devices for our students.
Constitutional Amendment #5: NO
Business already receive lucrative incentives through the Industrial Tax Exemption Program, which exempts 80% of property taxes for up to 10 years. These are local dollars voted on by local taxpayers to support local school districts, law enforcement, fire districts, drainage, and libraries.
Amendment 5 would allow corporations to negotiate more special deals with local governments, called PILOT agreements. Essentially, they pay some money up front in exchange for long-term tax breaks, with no obligation that a company create jobs in order to qualify for the tax-waiver program.
This would cost local governments millions in lost revenue, and it comes at a time when parish governing authorities, municipalities, school boards, and sheriff’s offices are already expected to see revenue losses of $522.9 million and $860.1 million in fiscal years 2020 and 2021 according to the Legislative Auditor due to COVID-19 and Hurricane Laura. Additionally, $156.8 million in property taxes and $19.3 million in sales taxes will expire at the end of the year, unless renewed by voters
Despite businesses already receiving lucrative incentives without accountability, the millions in projected revenue loss and the looming specter of losing millions in expiring taxes, we are being asked to give away even more of the taxes we voted for to support our communities, protect our families and educate our children. Now more than ever, it is vital that companies pay their fair share to support communities and public programs like schools -- Vote No on #5
Constitutional Amendment #6: YES
This would raise the income threshold for families seeking relief through the property assessment freeze program. The program was created to protect those who are age 65 or older; disabled veterans; surviving spouses of members of the military who were killed in action; and the totally disabled from increasing property tax assessments. This amendment would increase the household income threshold from $77,030 to $100,000.
Constitutional Amendment #7: NO
This would change how the State handles unclaimed property from private institutions. This includes unclaimed bank accounts, insurance payments, energy bill excesses that were meant to be reimbursed but the customer could not be found, etc. Each year, if there are excess funds (beyond what is reclaimed, what goes to administrative costs and what goes to I-49 maintenance) go to the State General Fund.
This constitutional amendment seeks to resolve a problem that doesn’t exist, by saving unclaimed funds in a new “Unclaimed Property Program.” The system has worked as it currently stands for over 50 years and there has never been an instance where claims exceeded collections in a given year, but the excess funds diverted to the State General Fund can help support vital public programs.
See your sample ballot and voting information at GEAUXVOTE.COM.
Early voting is Oct. 16-27 (excluding Sunday, Oct. 18 and Sunday, Oct. 25). Polls are open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Election day is Tuesday, November 3rd. Polls will be open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
When you go to cast your vote, you will be asked to identify yourself with either a photo ID or signature on a voter affidavit. You may use a Louisiana driver’s license, a Louisiana special identification card, a United States military identification card that contains the applicant's name and picture or other generally recognized picture identification card that has your name and signature.