PAR releases guide to 2015 Constitutional amendments - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

PAR releases guide to 2015 Constitutional amendments

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

The Public Affairs Research Council released its non-partisan breakdown of the four proposed amendments to Louisiana’s constitution.

Robert Scott Travis, president of PAR, said voters often struggle with the "confusing" language of the amendments as the appear on the ballot.

"It's so important going in advance and understanding what these say," he said. "I'm sorry that things are so doggone complicated and in fact when you look at some of the language on the ballot, especially for number one it’s very hard to comprehend."

The PAR Guide to the 2015 Constitutional Amendments can be read here.

Amendment 1 is perhaps one of the more significant proposed changes to the state’s constitution and deals with the state’s rainy day fund and how it handles the lucrative mineral revenue from things like oil and gas.

According to PAR, a yes vote would steer mineral revenue to a new transportation projects fund and restructure the Budget Stabilization Fund while a
no vote would leave the current revenue flow and Budget Stabilization Fund intact.

"What we've learned from history is that the legislature starts out creating funds that they hope and believe will be protected from being used on other things," Scott said. "It looks like this one's pretty well protected in that regard, but the legislature has always found ways over the years to tinker with these funds."

Amendment 1 – Creates a new transportation projects fund and restructures the rainy day fund

A vote FOR would steer state mineral revenue to a new transportation projects fund and restructure the Budget Stabilization Fund. A vote AGAINST would leave the current revenue flow and Budget Stabilization Fund intact.

Amendment 2 – Allows the state treasurer the option of investing in the state infrastructure bank

A vote FOR would allow the treasurer to invest public funds in a state infrastructure bank. A vote AGAINST would require the newly created infrastructure bank to rely on other financing. 

Amendment 3 – Provides new guidelines for legislation in a fiscal session

A vote FOR would broadly define what kind of tax and revenue bills can be filed in a legislative fiscal session. A vote AGAINST would leave in place the specific list of allowable tax legislation for fiscal sessions.

Amendment 4 – Allows local governments to tax property within their jurisdictions that is owned by local or state governments outside of Louisiana.

A vote FOR would require states or local governments outside of Louisiana to pay taxes on properties they own in Louisiana. A vote AGAINST would leave the question to the courts, which recently ruled that state or local governments outside Louisiana are exempt from property tax.

Voters will decide on the amendments on Oct. 24.

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