Proposed amendment would ban sales tax on real estate - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Proposed amendment would ban sales tax on real estate

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A strangely worded constitutional amendment will greet voters Saturday in the voting booth.  It's the only amendment on the ballot and a vote for it will ban a tax on real estate sales.

Louisiana is among 13 states that currently has no statewide real estate tax.  The lone amendment on Saturday's ballot would make sure it stays that way.

The non-partisan Public Affairs Research Council says voters should pay close attention when voting on the amendment.

"So what this amendment would do is it prohibits the creation of this type of tax," said Robert Scott, with the council. "If this goes into the Constitution there would be no statute that the legislature could pass that would create a real estate transfer tax and local governments couldn't create them either."

The Louisiana Real Estate Association is 100 percent on board with the amendment.  They say even a small percentage tax would cost closings and reduce the number of homes and businesses sold.

"By voting for Constitutional Amendment Number One, you're saying that we never want this type of tax placed on the backs of buyers and sellers in the State of Louisiana," said Norman Morris with Louisiana Realtors.

The amendment would not repeal taxes or fees currently levied.  It will not affect ad valorem taxes on property or any other fees currently being charged as well as other common closing costs.

A spokesperson for Gov. Bobby Jindal says the administration is in support of the amendment.

James Hallinan with the Louisiana Democratic Party says the party itself has no official position, but he also says it's not a good idea at all.

"When you're voting to amend the Constitution to change the tax code, we're not too sure that's the most prudent way to ensure a fair tax system for  all Louisianans," said Hallinan.

New Orleans has had a transfer tax on the books since the 1950's.  It will not be affected by the amendment.

Copyright 2011 WAFB. All rights reserved.

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