Senator breaks down four state amendments on the October ballot

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[Editor’s note: This was republished from Sen. Peacock’s email newsletter.]

Proposed Amendment 1: Do you support an amendment to exempt raw materials, goods, commodities, personal property, and other articles stored in public and private warehouses and destined for the Outer Continental Shelf from ad valorem taxes? 

Read more here: www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=19RS&b=HB234& sbi=y 

This amendment is to clarify that raw materials, goods and commodities that are being shipped for destinations on the Outer Continental Shelf, which would be offshore oil platforms, would not be subject to property taxes. This bill will allow items in public and private warehouses to have this exemption and to clarify where it has been disputed. We need this amendment in order to keep Louisiana competitive with other states that can easily be used as facilities to service offshore wells. The offshore well services industry is a very competitive one and one we do not want to lose to any of the other states on the Gulf of Mexico. 

The Senate voted 35-0 for this bill and the House voted 91-4. 

Proposed Amendment 2: Do you support an amendment to provide for appropriations from the Education Excellence Fund for the Louisiana Educational Television Authority, Thrive Academy, and laboratory schools operated by public postsecondary education institutions? 

Read more here: www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=19RS&b=     HB62&sbi=y 

This is a bill allowing allocation of the Education Excellence Fund to be used at the laboratory schools, the Louisiana Educational Television Authority and Thrive Academy. Due to restrictions in the constitution, these entities are not able to receive funding and with this constitutional amendment, the laboratory schools, Louisiana Educational Television Authority and Thrive will be able to participate in the Educational Excellence Fund, which includes proceeds from the tobacco settlement agreement. 

The Senate voted 37-0 on this bill and the House voted 95-0. 

Proposed Amendment 3: Do you support an amendment to protect taxpayers by requiring a complete remedy in law for the prompt recovery of any unconstitutional tax paid and to allow the jurisdiction of the Board of Tax Appeals to extend to matters related to the constitutionality of taxes? 

Read more here: www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx ?s=19RS&b=HB428& sbi=y 

This amendment will allow for the legal questions of the constitutionality of a tax or fee to be decided by the Board of Tax Appeals instead of through the district court levels that are not as specialized in this area of the law. I fully support this amendment because the Board of Tax Appeals is versed in the legality of tax issues and will be able to make decisions based on the constitutionality of taxes and fees so the matter can be resolved quickly. This is a constitutional amendment that will allow for disputes to be solved at a faster pace rather than allowing them to be bogged down in the judicial system. I highly encourage you to vote for this amendment. 

The Senate voted 37-0 on this bill and the House voted 95-0. 

Proposed Amendment 4: Do you support an amendment to allow the City of New Orleans to exempt property within Orleans Parish from all or part of ad valorem taxes that would otherwise be due for the purpose of promoting affordable housing? 

Read more here: www.legis.la.gov/legis/BillInfo.aspx?s=19RS&b=SB79& sbi=y 

This constitutional amendment is basically just poor policy. It has no business being put in the constitution. The New Orleans delegation would like to allow for the City of New Orleans to be able to exempt property owners from having to pay property taxes on houses under the idea that it would promote and encourage affordable housing. If this passed, it would allow for homeowners and developers in New Orleans to not have to pay any property taxes on their houses if approved by the City of New Orleans. We have one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country and giving local government the authority to exempt paying property taxes with the idea of promoting affordable housing is the wrong policy for the State of Louisiana or New Orleans to be pursuing. I highly encourage you to vote this amendment down. It barely passed the Senate with the required two-thirds vote. New Orleans does not have enough money to pay for its own infrastructure or police force and they want to be able to exempt homeowners from having to pay property taxes. This will allow the City of New Orleans to pick and choose which homeowners pay taxes and which ones don’t, which is not good policy. 

The Senate voted 28-9 on this bill and the House voted 92 to 2. 

Barrow Peacock is the Louisiana Senator for District 37. His office is located at 1619 Jimmie Davis Highway in Bossier City. He can be reached at 318-741-7180 or 

peacockb@legis.la.gov.