Early voting underway for Nov. 13 elections

By Bonnie Culverhouse

Early voting for the Nov. 13 election is currently underway through Saturday, Nov. 6 in Minden at the Webster Parish Courthouse and Springhill at the Springhill Civic Center. Both locations are open from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m.

There are four Constitutional Amendments on the ballot.

According to PAR, the first two amendments are weighty tax reform proposals.

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

McMahen 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 No. 2 proposes a major overhaul of the state income tax rates and deductions.

A vote FOR would lower the maximum rate of the income tax and allow removal of a major state tax deduction, triggering statutory reforms for individual and corporate income and franchise taxes.

A vote AGAINST would keep the Constitution’s current tax rates and the requirement to allow a deduction for federal taxes paid, which would stop all the statutory reforms.

Amendment 3 would affect the taxing authority of levee districts, which mostly affects areas of South Louisiana. It is, however, a statewide election.

A vote FOR would allow the boards of the levee districts created since 2006 to raise up to a 5-mill property tax without voter approval.

A vote AGAINST would continue to allow levee districts to get voter approval for any tax millage.

Amendment 4 is for tapping more dedicated money to fix a deficit.

A vote FOR would allow the transfer of more dedicated funds to fix a state budget deficit.

A vote AGAINST would keep the current 5 percent limit for tapping dedications to fix a deficit.

McMahen said this amendment will affect the entire state.

“We have a 43 billion dollar budget, but there’s only 9 or 10 billion that we have control over,” he said. “The rest is either federal money or statutory dedicated money. We have a small pool of money to pull from to fix any deficits.”

Amendment 4 would allow the state to tap into those dedicated funds in the event of a deficit.

“The amendment would increase the amount that can be tapped from these dedicated sources,” McMahen said. “You can already get 5 percent, but they are asking to raise it to 10 percent.”

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