2019 Constitutional Amendments

Our Look Before You Go Into the Voting Booth

 By Jeff Thomas

As a Think504 reader, you are an intelligent, open minded and informed person.  During this campaign season, you probably have a governor’s candidate you are going to vote for and you are looking at the senate and representative choices.  But did you know there would be constitutional amendments on the ballot next month?  And if you were aware, are you fully informed on them.  Don’t sweat it.  All you need to know follows.

‍Amendment ‍1 ‍Offshore ‍Goods ‍Property ‍Tax ‍Exemption

Ballot Language

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?

Background

This involves the interstate flow of goods.  Currently the federal law allows for the free and unimpeded flow of goods across states.  Imagine a trucker with a load of lumber stopping in New Orleans and spending a day in the French Quarter.  The city of New Orleans has no right to tax the lumber while it is parked in the city. 

But some coastal assessors started taxing goods and services parked in their parishes that are waiting to be transported offshore outside of state waters.  The companies complained and now we have to vote on whether these assessors can tax these goods and property sometimes stored in warehouses for months.

What Your Vote Would Do

A vote for would exempt these goods and property and prevent these assessors from levying any tax.

A vote against would allow the assessors to tax these goods and property.

Amendment ‍2 ‍Adds ‍Schools ‍to ‍the ‍Education ‍Excellence ‍Fund

Ballot Language

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?

Background

The Education Excellence Fund was created by Millennium Trust which was created in 1999 to insure excellence in education in Louisiana for the 21st century.  The Trust funds things like all elementary and secondary schools in the state, plus some special schools like our own New Orleans Center for Creative Arts (NOCCA), the school for the Deaf and Visually Impaired, the Louisisana School for Math, Science, and the Arts, and the Louisiana Special Education Center.  Three new schools plus the  Louisiana Educational Television Authority (LETA) seek to get permanent funding written into the constitution.  The Thrive Academy, an academically successful charter school in Baton Rouge and Southern Lab and LSU Lab schools all want permanent legislative funding written into the state’s constitution. 

What Your Vote Would Do

A vote for this amendment would make these schools funding and LETA permanent fixtures in the state constitution. 

A vote against requires the legislature to fund these schools every two years, recognizing that these schools already receive Minimum Foundation Program(MFP) funds and tuition.mm

‍Amendment ‍3 ‍Board ‍of ‍Tax ‍Appeals ‍Jurisdiction

Ballot Language

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?

Background

State and local tax disputes in Louisiana are heard by the state Board of Tax Appeals, which is comprised of three experienced tax lawyers who were appointed by the governor and approved by the Senate.  They can resolve any part of a tax dispute except constitutional law disagreements.   These must be heard in the courts.  A complex multi-issue disagreement must be put on hold so that a court can hear and rule on the constitutional issue.  This results in delays for citizens who are contesting taxation rulings. 

What Your Vote Would Do

A Yes vote would allow the legislature via a 2/3 vote to allow the  Board of Tax Appeals to rule on the constitutionality of taxes, fees, and related matters and require prompt repayment to residents of any paid unconstitutional tax.

A No vote would continue to limit the board’s powers and keep the power in the courts.

Amendment ‍4 ‍New ‍Orleans ‍Tax ‍Exemption ‍for ‍Affordable ‍Housing

Ballot Language

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?

Background

Gentrification has created an affordable housing crisis in New Orleans. A strategy to provide affordable housing to long time New Orleans residents would grant the city the right to create new property exemptions or caps on increases.  There is no detailed plan from the city, but properties with over 15 units and short-term rental properties are excluded from this new tax break.  Owner occupied doubles and rental property landlords might be eligible for a tax freeze in exchange for keeping rents low.

Definitions about affordability and the myriad of possible options may give the city government broad latitude to offer any number of tax breaks.  Fortunately, companion legislation shines a light on all proposed tax breaks and requires public notice 30 days before they become effective with at least one public hearing during that period.

A yes vote would grant New Orleans the power to award creative tax breaks that would can only create affordable housing.

A No vote will keep all property tax exemptions on the state level and prevent the city of New Orleans from creating new exemption for the purpose of creating affordable housing.

Stay tuned as I will appear on WBOK radio in the coming weeks to discuss this issue and make recommendations

3 thoughts on “2019 Constitutional Amendments

  • September 23, 2019 at 2:15 pm
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    Thank you for this information; it is very useful!!!

    Reply
  • September 30, 2019 at 7:18 am
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    I need to vote early, thus this information on the Amendments is VERY useful, but I need more insight into appropriate progressive voting ASAP!

    Reply
  • October 1, 2019 at 7:37 am
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    “All Legislation is Money Dependent”! Period End of Sentence!!!

    LBRC- LBRC- On Amendments?

    1. 1st and foremost!!!

    a. It is the responsibility of any person or entity proposing an Amendment to plainly and technically explain it! 

    b. What is an “Amendment” in plain language? Common Webster- 1 : the act of amending : “correction” 2. the process of amending by “parliamentary or constitutional”  procedure : an “alteration” proposed or effected by this process constitutional amendment”.

    2. How do you support correction or “Amend-mending” aka vote yea or nea, for what you do not comprehend? Understanding should “Precede” objection or approval! Would you give consent for “your” lobotomy without comprehending why? Only those with an IQ equal to their shoe size (Lots Organic) would allow this, especially by an “Untrained” Physician! ‘Dats right, not all physicians are “Brain Surgeons”! La. Is “Last” in a Class of 50! Brain Surgeon, Brain Surgeon…, says Jim Mora?

    3. Sadly, lots of so- called Amendments are proposed by the powerful, some by political neophytes, incompetents, Gift of Gab Politicos and simple sycophants! Nero was an incompetent “Emperor”. How did he become Emperor? He ruled the intelligent, rich, poor and ‘Po! Ans. Birth! What is “Warped” Merit? Ans. Filthy Lucre, White Privilege, Racism, Caste and yada…, Science says? The “Normal Bell Curve” with respect to “Mental Measurements” is not economic or “Color Caste” specific! 

    4. Politicos are “Fundamentally” Machiavellian aka “Amoral”! Most never read let alone comprehend Machiavelli! Mendicants are “Clue Dependent” and “Clueless”! Politicos know this! Studied Political Scientist comprehend the Dialectic and most certainly Brain Washing plus Goebbels! 

    5. Common citizens are Tools for political “Pied Pipers”! What pressures commoners  about struggling to understand Amendments as though it’s their responsibility to vote yea or nea regardless, especially when they have “No Clue” about what is being amended in “law”, let alone the so- called “Amendment” itself? More egregious is those generally advocating yea or nea are often recruited by and have a “vested” interest in outcomes! These are “your” so- called “Experts”! Yeah right!

    6. “Rule of Thumb”- In chest, “All” moves matter, none is more consequential than an  ignorant one in which the king is taken out! In a real democracy, the people are king. Poor self esteem and “Ignorance” crowns Politicos, Apostate Preachers and high Profile Gift of Gabbers (r)oyalty! They crown commoners “Royal Stupidity” (The UK Queen and King says to commoners- “We are King and Queen and you are our ‘Royal Subjects’ aka “You are subjected too…”, now say, self esteem?)! Politicos tell you they need more of your money to provide “services” and coffers are empty, except for 100% Salary increases for themselves, expensive retreats, special “1” proposition expensive election expenses, Court Appeals to appeal what citizens said they do not want and was “Corrupt”, pushed by “Special Interest” aka Filthy Lucre! 

    7. Finally? Whose responsible for your ignorance about what an “Amendment” might mean? Never say eat ‘Dis without 1st explaining what this is! ‘Dis just might just be convoluted sh*#! “Never vote yea to go, to where you do not know”! Children and those who are mentally, vote this way aka “Give them Disney World” and let ‘Dem eat Cake! 

    “VOTE NO, WHEN WHERE YOU GO, YOU DO NOT KNOW! “ONLY VOTE YES, WHEN IT’S NOT A GUESS!!! Even The Most High Described The New Jerusalem and Hell, then told you to “Choose”! Peace Out…

    Reply

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