Constitutional Amendments Voter Guide

   

by Ross Little, Jr. and Michael Lunsford

On Nov. 3, Louisiana Voters will vote on 7 proposed Amendments to the Louisiana Constitution, plus a proposal to expand gambling. Such proposals usually face little opposition in the Legislature. Legislators typically say “Just let the voters have a say.” With little to no questioning on the floor. But with Covid, this time it was even worse.

There was pretty much no critical discussion on these amendments.

Several pundits have opinions on these amendments. Here are a few: PAR-more or less unbiased, in depth; Gambit – Liberal; Ouachita Citizen – Not-too-liberal media; KLFY – LA TV.

Summary of Constitutional Amendments:

1. Pro Life Yes
2. Oil & Gas Tax Assessment Rules Yes
3. Emergency (More) Spending No
4. New Cap on State Spending Yes
5. Expand PILOTs No
6. Increase Homestead Exemptions No
7. Invest unclaimed property Yes
* More Gambling NO

1. VOTE YES. This is a great pro-life proposal.

I’ve been concerned that the Louisiana Constitution’s “Right to Privacy” could possibly be interpreted to allow for abortion. So far that hasn’t happened, but with the plethora of liberal judges, who knows?

This amendment would lay that concern to rest. It would add an important provision to the Louisiana Constitution: A Rule that no Judge could utilize the “privacy” provision to find a right to abortion. Vote Pro-Life. Vote Yes.

2. VOTE YES. This would hopefully lower taxes on Oil & Gas Property by allowing such property to be appraised using the “income approach.” It is iffy because the income approach in these properties is complex and confusing.

The pundits say that this simply shifts the tax from unproductive wells to productive wells. Hopefully.

This proposal allows assessors to use the income approach in appraising oil & gas properties, as opposed to the “market approach” and “cost approach.” The cost approach is much easier and less subject to differing results. But the income approach might mean lower taxes for the Oil & Gas Industry, at least in the short term. Go ahead and Vote YES.

3. VOTE NO. Open up the rainy day fund for more spending in an “emergency.” The Rainy Day Fund & Emergencies Proposed amendment.

The “rainy day fund” (Budget Stabilization Fund) is supposed to help when Louisiana has a fiscal crisis. This proposal would allow the Legislature, typically at the prodding of the governor, to utilize the “rainy day fund” whenever there is a federally declared “emergency.”

Bad idea.

Yes, I know that it would take a 2/3 vote of the legislature to spend the money. Recent experience has shown that the legislature will spend shamelessly.

Further, we have had enough of governors abusing their “emergency” powers. This would be taking us from bad to worse. VOTE NO to this proposal sponsored by liberal New Orleans State Rep. Gary Carter.

4. VOTE YES. How best to stop Increased Government spending.  Currently there is a limit on how much the legislature can increase spending from one year to the next. It’s primarily based on one factor. This would increase it to several factors.

How will this work out in the future? Not sure.

Yes. Some Liberals oppose the new proposal because they think it may restrict government spending too much. Some Conservatives are skeptical because they think it will allow too much increase in government spending.

What to do? Vote Yes.

5. VOTE NO. Expand Payments in Lieu of Taxes. (PILOT) Please vote NO. The primary problem with PILOTs is their tendency to further crony capitalism: The favoring of one individual or group over another. None of the pundits covering the constitutional amendments mentioned this. Look carefully at PILOTs across the state and you’ll see a pattern of favoritism. This proposal would expand the possibilities of favoritism by expanding PILOTs. Let’s keep a level playing field. This is a terrible proposal. Vote NO.

6. VOTE NO. Expands homestead property tax exemption.

Why should conservatives oppose tax exemptions? Here is the problem with tax exemptions: Those who are exempt could care less if property taxes are raised. Currently, all those with incomes below $28,000 qualify for the exemption. The proposal would allow those with incomes up to $100,000 to qualify for the exemption.

Bad idea. Let’s support lowering property tax rates across-the-board. (I know, not likely. But impossible if we continue to do things like this.) Vote NO.

7. VOTE YES. Allow the State to Invest Unclaimed Funds. Yes. Should have done this long ago.

Proposal to Expand Gambling by allowing local votes on sports betting. VOTE NO. Legalized gambling is always a bad idea. Expanding gambling is always a bad idea. Vote No.

But, but … people do it anyway.

Expanding gambling is always bad. Vote NO.

Hold On

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