Voters facing Constitutional Amendments; #1 consolidates tax collection

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Saturday, Oct. 9, Louisiana voters will be faced with four Constitutional Amendments when they go to the polls.
The Webster Parish Journal, with the aid of Public Affairs Research Council (PAR) of Louisiana and District 10 State Rep. Wayne McMahon, will take a look at Amendment 1 in this first story, with Amendment 2 to follow next week and so forth.
According to PAR, the first two amendments are weighty tax reform proposals.

“All of these amendments are worthy,” McMahon said. “Amendments 1 and 2 are the ones that can make a difference moving forward.”

McMahon said it is important to put a tax plan in place so businesses looking at Louisiana “don’t see all these complicated tax issues.”

Amendment No. 1 takes major steps toward consolidating and streamlining an unusually fragmented state and local sales tax system.

Amendment 1 reads as follows:

“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?”

On the PAR website, for Amendment 1, a vote FOR would allow a single authority to oversee the collection, electronic filing and policy guidance for state and local sales taxes.

A vote AGAINST would continue to constitutionally require separate collection, filing and policy oversight of sales taxes by the state and local governments.

“We are one of only three states in the nation that don’t have centralized tax collection,” McMahon said. “We collect taxes from each parish and several other entities. This amendment will set up one board to collect sales tax for the complete state.”

If the amendment passes, this eight-member body would have four members appointed by organizations representing local government, two by the state executive branch and two by the legislative branch. The appointments would require Senate confirmation.

The specific appointing authorities would be:

• the Louisiana School Boards Association,
• the Louisiana Municipal Association,
• the Police Jury Association of Louisiana,
• the Louisiana Sheriffs’ Association,
• the Secretary of the Department of Revenue,
• the Governor,
• the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and
• the President of the Senate.