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Understanding the constitutional amendments for November 13 election

Published: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:04 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 12, 2021 at 4:23 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - Voting for the 2021 Fall elections was supposed to take place back on October 9, but due to Hurricane Ida, Governor John Bel Edwards rescheduled the election for November 13.

Along with local races, there will be four constitutional amendments that voters should be familiar with before casting their ballots.

Two of the amendments are aimed to help revamp the state’s tax system.

The language on the ballots can sometimes be confusing so below is a list of the proposed amendments and what a vote “yes” and a vote “no” means for voters.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #1 - Sales Tax Streamlining

“Do you support an amendment to authorize the legislature to provide for the streamlined electronic filing, electronic remittance, and the collection of sales and use taxes levied within the state by the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission and to provide for the funding, duties, and responsibilities of the commission?”

“Yes” vote: supports creating the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission. The commission would provide streamlined electronic filing and collection of all sales and use taxes.

“No” vote: would oppose creating the State and Local Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Commission.

Overview: Amendment 1 is aimed to centralize sales tax collection which is currently gathered on the local level. It would also create a statewide entity to oversee sales tax collections. Louisiana is one of three states that currently doesn’t have a centralized state sales tax collection system. The money collected by companies with sales tax stays with the companies instead of going back into the state. The amendment would create a portal that will collect the taxes that go to bigger companies, like internet sales, ensuring that the taxes paid will get distributed back out into the state. Louisiana Speaker of the House Clay Schexnayder said it’s a complicated system having to deal with multiple taxing authorities and interests. Amendment 1 attempts to simplify that.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #2 - Tax Reform

“Do you support an amendment to lower the maximum allowable rate of individual income tax and to authorize the legislature to provide by law for a deduction for federal income taxes paid?”

“Yes” vote: would decrease the maximum individual income tax rate from 6% to 4.75%. This amendment would get rid of the deduction on state income taxes paid to the federal government.

“No” vote: opposes decreasing the maximum individual income tax rate from 6% to 4.75%.

Overview: Amendment 2 would ensure that the maximum state individual income tax rate would not exceed 4.75% for taxpayers starting next year.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #3 - Taxing Authority for New Levee Districts

“Do you support an amendment to allow levee districts created after January 1, 2006, and before October 9, 2021, whose electors approve the amendment to levy an annual tax not to exceed five mills for the purpose of constructing and maintaining levees, levee drainage, flood protection, and hurricane flood protection?”

“Yes” vote: would allow the board of the levee districts that were created after 2006 to raise up to a 5 mill property tax without voter approval.

“No” vote: would continue to require levee districts to get approval to impose a property tax.

Overview: Eight levee districts have been created since 2006, and five of those have not raised millages and have not been affected. Amendment 3 would impact those five which include Chenier Plain Coastal Restoration and Protection Authority, Iberia Parish Levee, Hurricane and Conservation District, Squirrel Run Levee and Drainage District, St. Tammany Levee, Drainage and Conservation District and Tangiphaoa Levee District.

PROPOSED AMENDMENT #4 - Increase Limit on Funding Reductions and Redirections During Budget Deficits

“Do you support an amendment to increase the amount of allowable deficit reductions to statutory dedications and constitutionally protected funds from five percent to ten percent?”

“Yes” vote: would increase the amount of funds from 5% to 10% that can be redirected to fix a state budget deficit.

“No” vote: would keep the current 5% limit.

Overview: Currently, lawmakers are limited to a 5% reduction in redirecting money from one fund to another. If this amendment were to pass, that limit would be raised to 10%, allowing one-tenth of money from any one fund to be reallocated and redirected during a budget deficit.

Early voting for the fall election will take place from October 30 to November 6.

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