Voters statewide will be asked to decide yes or no on six proposed amendments to the Louisiana Constitution on the November 8 ballot.
Amendments 2, 3 and 5 are particularly significant because of their impact on state policy. They address who will set college tuition levels, the rate and deductions for corporate income taxes and a new trust fund to address state revenue surges.
PAR (Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana) has released a guide to the 2016 Constitutional amendments to provide a review of each item in the order they will appear on the ballot. The Guide is educational and does not recommend how to vote. It offers concise analysis and provides arguments of proponents and opponents.
Here is a brief pro and con explanation of each one in layman’s language courtesy of the Public Affairs Research Council as cited by local political analyst, Fax-Net Update’s Lou Burnett:
Amendment No. 1 — VOTE FOR: would require standards of professional and educational experience for local registrars of voters and more public disclosure in their hiring process.VOTE AGAINST: would leave the exisiting job requirements in place and allow local governing authorities greater discretion when filling registrar vacancies.
Amendment No. 2 — VOTE FOR: would let higher education management boards set annual tuition rates and fee amounts for colleges and universities without legislative approval. VOTE AGAINST: preserve the state legislatur’s authority over tuition and fee levels.
Amendment No. 3 — VOTE FOR: would eliminate the deduction for federal income taxes paid by corporations when calculating state income tases while triggering a flat corporate tax rate of 6.5 percent. VOTE AGAINST: would allow corporations to continue receiving a state income tax deduction for federal income taxes pais and allow the existing corporate tax rates and brackets to remain.
Amendment No. 4 — VOTE FOR: would give surviving spouses of military, fire protection officers and law enforcement personnel who died while on duty a full property tax exemption on their home. VOTE AGAINST: would leave existing ad valorem property tax exemptions levels and eligibility requirements in place.
Amendment No. 5 — VOTE FOR: would create the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund to receive a portion of revenues from corporate and mineral taxes and to spend the money on infrastructure and pension liabilities. VOTE AGAINST: would continue to allow corporate tax and mineral revenue above a certain threshold to flow into the state general fund for appropriation by the legislature.
Amendment No. 6 — VOTE FOR: would provide legislators a new way to tap into constitutionally protected funds during revenue downturns and also extends protection to five existing funds. VOTE AGAINST: would keep in place the existing trigger which allows the legislature to tap into otherwise protected funds.
Voters can access the full PAR Guide online at parlouisiana.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Constitutional-Amendments-2016.pdf