Vote “NO” on amendments, 197 amendments is already too many

Among the many items on the November 3rd Ballot are seven proposed constitutional amendments and one gambling proposition. We have reviewed all eight items and make the following recommendations. The goals of each amendment can be achieved without being included in the constitution. Historically, various groups have pushed to have their pet issues added to the constitution to make it hard for future generations to changes. Since 1974, there have been 197 amendments tacked on to the constitution protecting pet projects of politicians and bloating the size of the document.

#1 Abortion -NO

This amendment would permanently prevent state funding for abortions for any reason including rape or to save the life of the mother. Since health clinics and public hospitals usually service poor women, they would be those affected most. Funding priorities can be handled by the legislature and do not require a constitutional amendment.

#2 Oil and Gas Assessment – NO

This amendment will change the methodology when computing the fair market value of an oil or gas well to determine its fair market value. We feel the constitution should not spell methodologies but overriding principles. Methodologies should be addressed by the legislature and not be constitutional amendments.

#3 Rainy Day Fund – NO

The amendment would allow the state to tap its emergency funds if disasters cause ordinary state revenues to drop below a certain level. The purpose of the rainy day fund is to insure the state has funds to tap if disasters require big spending. There are no safeguards to stop politicians from tapping the fund for other reasons if this amendment is passed.

#4 Limit on Budget Expenditures – NO

This amendment would tighten t limits on the state’s spending limits and would require a 2/3 vote of the legislature to make adjustments. It would most likely lead to cuts in education and other programs if money gets tight. These are legislative matters best handled in response to needs by legislators rather than by locking it into the constitution.

#5 Payments instead of property taxes – NO

This amendment would allow local governments to strike sweetheart deals with new businesses they are courting, to allow the newcomers to pay a set number payments to a local government rather than property taxes. In the long haul, it could mean less property taxes will be available for police, schools, and other agencies. By allowing such deals the potential for corruption would be high if this amendment passes.

#6 Expanded Property Tax Freezes – NO

This amendment would increase the amount of income a person 65 years old or older can earn and still receive property tax breaks. The present income limitation is $77,030. This amendment would increase the limit to $100,000 a year for seniors. It will have the net effect of reducing tax revenues available for police, fire, schools and other agencies.

#7 Unclaimed Property Changes – NO

This amendment would prevent the state from tapping into unclaimed funds owed individuals to solve cash flow problems. It is a good idea, but the same result can be achieved by a vote of the legislature rather than a constitutional amendment. Since 2/3 of legislators favored this issue it should be easy for the legislature to pass.

SPORTS BETTING: -NO

This amendment would allow each parish to approve sports betting within its jurisdiction. It will mean a major expansion of Gambling in the state which is especially detrimental to the young and the poor.