Seven amendments, sports betting proposal go before voters Nov. 3

Staff Report

Aside from a litany of federal, state and local elections on the Nov. 3 ballot, residents here and throughout Louisiana will decide on seven amendments and a proposal on sports betting.

The amendments ask voters decisions on abortion constitutionality, taxation, unclaimed property and other issues will go before voters in the Nov. 3 election, along with a parish-by-parish proposition on sports wagering.

Here’s a look at the seven amendments and one proposition:

Amendment 1 – “Do you support an amendment declaring that, to protect human life, a right to abortion and the funding of abortion shall not be found in the Louisiana Constitution?”

A vote in favor of the amendment would have no immediate effect but would limit any future state judicial interpretation that might otherwise find a right to abortion, according to PAR.

A vote against the proposal would leave the state Constitution with no specific language on abortion.

Amendment 2 – “Do you support an amendment to permit the presence or production of oil or gas to be included in the methodology used to determine the fair market value of an oil or gas well for the purpose of property assessment?"

If approved, it would allow production of an oil or gas well to be included in the methods to determine fair market value for purpose of ad valorem or property taxes. It would not raise or lower taxes on oil and gas wells, but it would shift the tax burden by assessing less on low-producing or shut-in wells, while wells with higher production potential could be assessed more.

A vote against the amendment would keep the same assessment process in place for oil and gas wells.

Amendment 3 – “Do you support an amendment to allow for the use of the Budget Stabilization Fund, also known as the Rainy Day Fund, for state costs associated with disasters declared by state and federal government?"

If approved, it would allow the state to tap into the fund in federally declared disasters, such as floods, hurricanes and tornadoes.

A vote against the proposal would continue to restrict the use of the Budget Stabilization Fund to revenue shortfalls.

Amendment 4 – "Do you support an amendment to limit the growth of the expenditure limit for the state general fund and dedicated funds and to remove the calculation of its growth factor from the Constitution?”

A vote in favor would create a new state budget spending limit, with probable slower growth in state government.

A vote against Amendment 4 would continue the method for an expenditure limit, which applies to the state general fund and state dollars spent from dedicated funds and various fees.

Amendment 5 -- “Do you support an amendment to authorize local governments to enter into cooperative endeavor ad valorem tax exemption agreements with new or expanding manufacturing establishments for payments in lieu of taxes?”

A vote in favor of Amendment 5 would provide new options for manufacturers and local governments to schedule payments instead of property taxes for industrial expansions.

A vote against Amendment 5 would leave the current system as the only set of options for property taxes, payments or exemptions for manufacturers.

Amendment 6 – “Do you support an amendment to increase the maximum amount of income a person may receive and still qualify for the special assessment level for residential property receiving the homestead exemption?”

A vote for Amendment 6 would allow homeowners with higher incomes to qualify for the property tax assessment freeze, which goes to homeowners of certain income levels who are 65 or older; disabled veterans; surviving spouses of members of the military who were killed in action; and the totally disabled. Only primary residences that qualify for the homestead exemption are eligible for the freeze. The homeowner income level must be no more than $77,030, but the proposal would raise it to $100,000 and allow it to be adjusted for inflation each year, starting in 2026.

A vote against the amendment keeps the current income threshold for property tax freezes.

Amendment 7 – “Do you support an amendment to create the Louisiana Unclaimed Property Permanent Trust Fund to preserve the money that remains unclaimed by its owner or owners?”

A vote in favor of the amendment would constitutionally protect owners of unclaimed property by stating the funds are private property and only held in trust until the owner makes a claim.

A vote against the amendment would keep the current process in place, which puts the money to programs such as healthcare, K-12 education and state colleges, and lessen the risk of additional taxes.

Proposition – "Shall sports wagering activities and operations be permitted in the parish?"

Proponents of the bill say that people already bet on sporting events, and that the vote would legalize and formalize the activity to allow state and local governments to regulate and tax it. Mississippi and other states already permit it, along with unsanctioned betting platforms that are hosted overseas. Retail and digital gambling companies could make up to $330 million per year in Louisiana and create new casino jobs that would generate an estimate $50 million in annual tax revenue.

Opponents consider the bill a major expansion of gambling in Louisiana, and an attempt by casinos to draw in younger patrons. They fear it would put additional tax burden on people who are addicted to gambling.