VOTERS PASSED all 13 proposed amendments to the Louisiana Constitution offered on the September ballot, and their are eight more on the Nov. 7 ballot. Here’s an overview from PAR - the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana, a citizens advocacy group. We include a quick description of the amendments and also an explanation of what a vote for - or against - would mean for you and the State:
1. Property Tax Assessment Freeze for Military and Disabled:
This amendment would expand the list of those eligible for the property tax freeze to include people with a military service-connected disabilities, military members who are missing in action or prisoners of war, the spouses of military members killed in action, and any person that a state or federal administrative agency has deemed permanently and totally disabled.
A VOTE FOR would expand eligibility for a property tax assessment freeze to certain current and former military members, certain people with permanent and total disabilities and some of their surviving spouses.
A VOTE AGAINST would continue to allow only those who are 65 years of age or older and some of their surviving spouses to be eligible for the property tax assessment freeze.
2. Parish Severance Tax Allocation:
This amendment would increase from $750,000 to $850,000 in 2008 the maximum amount of the severance tax revenue on oil and gas paid by the state to the parish of origin.
A VOTE FOR would increase the maximum amount of state oil and gas severance tax revenue a parish government could receive each year from $750,000 to $850,000.
A VOTE AGAINST would retain the present limit at $750,000 per parish.
3. Property Tax Exemption for Leased Medical Equipment
This amendment would exempt from property taxes medical equipment leased to nonprofit organizations that own or operate small, rural hospitals.
A VOTE FOR would exempt from property taxes certain medical equipment leased for five years or longer to small, rural nonprofit hospitals.
A VOTE AGAINST would maintain a property tax exemption only for medical equipment owned, not leased, by small rural nonprofit hospitals.
4. Municipal Property Tax Exemption for Motor Vehicles
The amendment would extend the motor vehicle property tax exemption to municipal taxes.
A VOTE FOR would exempt motor vehicles from municipal property taxes.
A VOTE AGAINST would continue to allow municipalities to levy property taxes on motor vehicles.
5. Property Tax Exemption for Consigned Art
This amendment would exempt from property taxes all art held on consignment statewide as of January 2007.
A VOTE FOR would grant a property tax exemption for art placed on consignment.
A VOTE AGAINST would maintain the current property tax exemptions, which do not include consigned art.
6. New Family and Juvenile Judgeships
This proposal would allow the Legislature to create a new family of juvenile judgeships beginning on Jan. 1, 2007.
A VOTE FOR would give the Legislature specific authority to create new family and juvenile judgeships.
A VOTE AGAINST would leave some existing family and juvenile judgeships subject to legal challenge.
7. Consolidation of the New Orleans Assessors
This proposal would consolidate the seven separate assessors in New Orleans into a single, parish-wide elected office.
A VOTE FOR would consolidate the seven separate assessors in New Orleans into a single, parish-wide office.
A VOTE AGAINST would maintain the seven separate assessors in New Orleans.
8. Central Community School System
The amendment would allow Central to separate its school from the East Baton Rouge Public School System and form its own school district.
A VOTE FOR would establish the Central Community School System.
A VOTE AGAINST would maintain the status quo, and public schools in the Central community would remain part of the EBRPSS.