Louisiana voters will decide the fate of 14 proposed amendments in the Nov. 4 election. Today, The Advocate continues a series of editorials outlining its positions on the amendments. Soon, we’ll publish a recap of our positions in a single format that voters can easily use when casting a ballot. Our complete editorial series on the amendments also will be available online at theadvocate.com.
Here are our positions on amendments 8, 9, 11, 12 and 14.
Amendment 8: Artificial Reef Development Fund. No.
This amendment would prevent lawmakers from using money in a special state fund for artificial reef development for other purposes. The state already has too many constitutional restrictions governing the state budget, limiting leaders’ ability to manage the budget in lean times.
Amendment 9: Tax exemption reporting for permanently disabled residents. No.
This amendment is intended to ease participation in a property tax exemption for disabled residents. We believe that disabled residents should be helped through specialized programs, not exemptions in the tax code. Such exemptions usually lead to more exemptions for other groups, needlessly complicating the tax code.
Amendment 11: Increasing number of state departments from 20 to 21. No.
This amendment would allow the state to have more government departments, facilitating the creation of a Department of Elderly Affairs. We fully support providing coordinated services to the elderly, but Louisiana doesn’t need a separate department to advance that goal.
Amendment 12: Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission membership. No.
This amendment seeks to micromanage the geographical make-up of membership on the Louisiana Wildlife and Fisheries Commission. That’s a bad idea, and this kind of restriction has no place in the constitution.
Amendment 14: Tax rebates, incentives and abatements. No.
This amendment limits legislation related to tax rebates, incentives and abatements to fiscal legislative sessions only. The distinction between fiscal and general legislative sessions doesn’t seem very practical in an age when we expect government to be as flexible as a business in managing its affairs. This amendment would sharpen that distinction even more.