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Breaking down proposed constitutional amendments in upcoming election

Published: Oct. 19, 2021 at 6:34 PM CDT
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BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The November 13 election will not have any statewide or federal office seats on the ballot like what is typically seen but voters will still have some very important decisions to make when considering four proposed constitutional amendments.

The first of the proposed amendments deals with state and local sales taxes. Right now, those are collected by each parish and then sent to the state. The new way would go straight to a special state commission to help speed up the process. The amendment would make things a little easier for businesses by reducing their paperwork load and compliance burdens. However, local governments may worry this could delay the time between merchants collecting sales taxes and when those taxes get sent back to local governments.

“They’re saying this would not only help the government but also help the people,” said political analyst Jim Engster. “And this one of the four is probably the least controversial and has a good shot of passing.”

The other amendment is a plan to cut income taxes and eliminate certain tax deductions. Louisiana is one of two states that allow corporate and individual taxpayers to deduct the federal income taxes they pay from their taxable income. This amendment would toss out that deduction from the state constitution and would put a cap on personal income taxes at just under 5%. BRAC has already announced its endorsement of both the first and second proposed amendments.

“It is a sweeping change. Now, it’s supposedly revenue-neutral but we really don’t know until it happens. Some people believe it would actually cost the state about $27 million a year, which, in the overall scheme of a $30 billion budget, is not a lot of money but for most of us, $27 million is real money,” added Engster.

The third amendment allows local levee districts created after 2006 to establish a 5-mill property tax. The money collected from the property taxes will go toward funding for flood protection measures.

“If it helps them survive hurricanes and have services that are necessary during dire times, they might very well be in favor of paying more taxes,” explained Engster.

The final amendment allows the governor and state legislature to cut up to 10% of protected funds whenever the state is short on cash midway through the year, instead of the current five percent cap.

“Some people say this is just common sense. Others say, ‘Look, we’re already spending lots of money. Why can’t we pay for what we have with what we have?’ So, this is one next to number two that’s getting the most attention and it would affect everybody in the state in some way,” continued Engster.

Early voting for the November 13 election begins on October 30.

CLICK HERE to see a breakdown of each amendment.

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