More Amendments On The Ballot. I Don’t Want To Hear Your Excuses. Get Out And Vote

Yes, you’ve been here before. Like a month ago. You don’t remember? Somehow you must’ve missed it. But here we go again — early voting, beginning this Friday. Once again, there are amendments to consider. Nothing spectacular, just more tweaking on how your money is spent. If that’s important to you, then let’s look at amendments 3 & 4. If not, still, let’s look at amendments 3 & 4.

Amendment 3:

Do you support an amendment to authorize the local governing authority of a parish to provide an ad valorem tax exemption for qualified first responders?

This one is pretty simple. Do you support giving first responders a property tax break?

There’s nothing new for the state here. It’s already in the property tax break game. Presently, all kinds of homeowners get them — people with disabilities, vets, seniors 65 and older with certain incomes. But this amendment allows different parishes to provide the tax break. So an Orleans Parish police officer might have a tax break that a Jefferson Parish sheriff’s deputy does not.

What a yes vote would do:

A yes vote allows a parish to extend a property tax break of up to $25,000 for workers involved in first response. That just doesn’t include police, firemen, and EMS workers (the front liners), but dispatchers and operators too.


This is a crime fighting incentive. Louisiana has been perpetually ranked one of the most dangerous states in the nation; two studies have done so recently. And crime has been the predominant focus here in Orleans and in the governor’s race statewide. As anybody who lives in Orleans should know, not having enough police on the streets has been one of the main reasons attributed to the high crime rate. In theory, this amendment would make joining the NOPD and living in a city like New Orleans a more attractive proposition.

What a no vote would do:

Keep things as they are. No extra incentive to become a police officer or any other type of first responder and live in a certain parish. For some fiscally concerned folks, it’d also stop the state from further complicating the tax system with another exemption.

What staying home and not voting would do:

Make you a no-good citizen and send a signal that you don’t care what the state does with your money, in this case.

It’d also give us here at Think504 more ammunition to make fun of you and say snarky stuff about you and your mama during staff meetings (that would mainly be me).

Amendment 4:

Do you support an amendment authorizing the legislature, after securing a two-thirds vote of each house, to use up to two hundred fifty million dollars from the Revenue Stabilization Trust Fund to alleviate a budget deficit subject to conditions set forth by law and allowing the legislature to modify such conditions for accessing the monies in the fund, subject to two-thirds vote?

I know. This is the kind of language that causes much eye-rolling and voter apathy when it comes to amendments. Let’s unpack it. Presently, state legislators can pretty much tap into the fund and spend all of it as they wish if they secure two-thirds of the House and Senate.

What a yes vote would do:

A yes vote would add some restrictions. With a yes, legislators could initially spend up to $250 million of the fund. And they could only use that money to fill a budget deficit. They’d still need two-thirds of the House and Senate. After that, if they needed to access more money from the fund, they’d have to secure another two-thirds vote from the House and Senate.


This is to make legislators more conscious of how they’re budgeting and spending. Adding extra hoops to jump through would in theory curb excess spending.

What a no vote would do:

Keep it so that the fund could be accessed and the money spent mostly at the legislators’ discretion.

What staying home and not voting would do:

Just make you a really un-cool person.

So there you have it. Amendments round 2. Early voting starts this Friday, the 3rd,  and runs through the 10th. Election Day is the 18th. Do yourself a favor and get out and vote. Or else, they’ll be hell for you and your mama.

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