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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

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Voters to on six Constitutional Amendments

Voters to on six Constitutional Amendments

Voters will also decide the fate of six Constitutional Amendments in this Tuesday’s election. Two deal with budget deficits, one with college and university management boards, another for parish registrar of voters, one involves corporate federal and state taxes, and one deals with property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of military, law enforcement officers and firefighters killed in the line of duty.

Amendment No. 1 involves parish registrar of voters.

A vote FOR Amendment No. 1 would require the Legislature to set qualifications that future candidates for appointment as parish registrar of voters would have to meet before being considered by parish governing bodies.

There currently are no qualifications required for holding the office.

A vote AGAINST would allow parish governments to continue making appointments, regardless of qualifications.

Amendment No. 2 involves college tuition and fees.

The constitution currently requires that imposing new fees or increasing existing fees by the state – or any board, department, or agency of the state – requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature. This applies to tuition and fees charged to students attending public postsecondary education institutions.

College and university officials say they should be able to control what they charge.

A vote FOR would allow managements board of the LSU, Southern University, University of Louisiana, and Community and Technical College systems to set tuition and fees for their campuses.

A vote AGAINST would continue legislative control over tuition and fees.

Amendment No. 3 involves corporate income tax computation.

The constitution currently allows businesses that file corporate income taxes to deduct the amount paid in federal taxes from the amount of income used to calculate what is owed in state taxes.

A vote FOR Amendment No. 3 would remove that business deduction and allow Act. No. 8 of the First E.S. to become effective on Jan. 1, 2017, changing the tiered corporate rates and brackets to a flat tax of 6.5% on Louisiana taxable income.

A vote AGAINST would continue allowing corporations to deduct their federal taxes from the amount paid to the state.

Amendment No. 4 involves property tax exemptions for surviving spouses.

A vote FOR Amendment No. 4 would grant an exemption from paying property taxes to the unmarried surviving spouses of members of the U.S. Armed Forces or Louisiana National Guard and of most law enforcement officers and firefighters who have been killed in the line of duty.

Only spouses of law enforcement and firefighting personnel who were receiving supplemental pay would qualify.

The provision would go into effect for 2017 property taxes and succeeding years when applications and documentation are filed yearly with parish assessors.

A vote AGAINST would retain the current system in which the spouses receive the same homestead exception as any homeowner.

Amendment No. 5 involves the state’s revenue stabilization trust fund.

A vote FOR Amendment No. 5 would adjust how revenue from oil and gas production would be utilized. Less would go into the general fund and more would go into transportation and paying off state employee and teacher retirement systems’ unfunded liability.

The current Budget Stabilization (Rainy Day) Fund would be maintained at its maximum level.

A vote AGAINST would continue the current system and leave the money for general state purposes.

Amendment No. 6 involves eliminating projected deficits.

The constitution contains language for eliminating deficits, giving the governor authority to cut a limited amount and the Legislature even more, but some dedicated funds are protected.

A vote FOR Amendment No. 6 would increase the amount of money from constitutional funds that could be used to close deficits, but would add to the number of funds that can’t be touched.

To be protected are the Coastal Protection and Restoration Fund, the Conservation Fund, the Oilfield Site Restoration Fund, any healthcare provider fees or assessments in the Hospital Stabilization Fund, the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund, and supplemental pay for full-time local law enforcement and fire protection officers.

A vote AGAINST would retain the current process.

The polls will be open on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, from 6 a.m. through 8 p.m.

Visit for information.