On November 8, Louisiana voters are being asked to decide six Constitutional Amendments. I have provided this prepared, short description for each amendment.
Amendment No. 1 Registrar of Voters Qualifications
A vote FOR would require the Legislature to set qualifications that future candidates for appointment as parish registrar of voters would have to meet before being considered by parish governing bodies. There currently are no qualifications required.
A vote AGAINST would allow parish governing bodies to continue making appointments regardless of qualifications.
Amendment No. 2 College Tuition and Fees
The constitution currently requires that new fees or increased fees by the state–or any board, department, or agency of the state–requires a 2/3 vote of the Legislature. This applies to tuition and fees of universities. A vote FOR this amendment will allow University management boards at LSU, Southern University, the University of Louisiana, and Community and Technical College Systems to set their own tuition and fees.
A vote AGAINST would require that the Legislature continue to authorize fee and tuition increases.
Amendment No. 3 Corporate Income Tax Computation
The constitution currently allows businesses that file corporate income taxes to deduct the amount paid in federal income taxes from the amount of income used to calculate what is owed in state taxes.
A vote FOR would remove that deduction and require that corporate taxes and rates become a flat tax of 6.5% on Louisiana taxable income.
A vote AGAINST would continue the deduction.
Amendment No. 4 Property Tax Exemption for Surviving Spouses
A vote FOR would grant an exemption from paying property taxes to the unmarried surviving spouses of members of the Armed Serves or National Guard and most law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty. A surviving spouse qualify if their late spouses qualified for supplemental pay. It would be effective for 2017 property taxes.
A vote AGAINST would not allow the exemption.
Amendment No. 5 Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund
A vote FOR would adjust how revenue from oil and gas production is used. Less money would go into the general fund and more would go to transportation and paying off state employee and teacher retirement system liabilities. The current Budget Stabilization Fund (Rainy Day Fund) would be maintained at its maximum level.
A vote AGAINST would continue to allow the money to be used for any state general purposes.
Amendment No. 6 Eliminating Projected Deficits
The Constitution contains language for eliminating deficits, giving the governor the authority to cut a limited amount and the Legislature even more authority to do so, but some dedicated funds are protected from budget cuts.
A vote FOR would increase the amount of money from constitutional funds that can be used to cut deficits, but would add to the number of funds that can’t be touched. To be protected are the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, the Conservation Fund, the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund, andy healthcare provider fees or assessments in the Hospital Stabilization Fund, the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, and supplemental pay for full-time local law enforcement and fire protection officers.
A vote AGAINST would retain the current process and limits.