Here are our positions on proposed state constitutional amendments 6, 7, 8 and 9, which are on the Nov. 6 statewide ballot.
Amendment No. 6 – Property tax exemption in New Iberia – No.
New Iberia officials want to annex some surrounding areas into the city limits. To accommodate landowners affected by the move, New Iberia officials want to grant these landowners a limited exemption from municipal property taxes. Approval of this amendment would allow the city to do that with a two-thirds approval of the city council.
Whatever the merits of this amendment, it should be considered as a policy question for all communities in Louisiana, not just New Iberia. We urge a “no” vote.
Amendment No. 7 – Changing memberships on boards and commissions – Yes.
For six major state boards, the state constitution requires that the board include at least one member from each Louisiana congressional district. Because Louisiana is losing a congressional seat, Amendment No. 7 allows these boards to make necessary adjustments in dealing with the changed congressional district map. This is a necessary piece of housekeeping, and we support passage of the amendment.
Amendment No. 8 – Local property tax exemption for certain businesses – No.
This amendment would allow local property tax exemptions for certain kinds of businesses identified as highly desirable by the Louisiana Department of Economic Development, such as data service and distribution centers, corporate headquarters and other non-manufacturing businesses, especially those related to technology and research.
Although parish authorities would be able to decide whether to participate in this incentive program, most of the authority for implementing the tax exemptions for a particular project would rest at the state level.
While we support economic development, we believe this amendment would steer yet more taxing authority away from local governments to state government, accelerating a trend that’s already proved a chronic problem for tax policy in Louisiana.
We urge a “no” vote.
Amendment No. 9 – Crime prevention – Yes.
Neighborhood crime prevention districts, in which residents of a neighborhood can agree to tax themselves to fund extra police protection within the neighborhood, have become very popular in Louisiana. First, state lawmakers and the governor approve a bill authorizing residents of the proposed district to vote on whether to approve the district. Amendment No. 9 would strengthen public notice requirements for the process of creating such districts, helping to ensure that voters have enough time to fully consider their options. We support the amendment as a useful way to improve citizen engagement.
We published our positions on Amendments 1 through 5 in earlier editions of The Advocate.
Our positions on those earlier proposed amendments are still available for readers at http://www.theadvocate.com.
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