Louisiana voters will decide the fate of three proposed state constitutional amendments when they cast ballots in the Oct. 14 primary election. Topping the ballot will be a statewide special election for state treasurer, necessary because of former Treasurer John Kennedy’s election to the U.S. Senate.

Amendment No. 1 is designed to clarify the taxing of construction work in progress. It would establish a tax exemption for such work. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana in its “Guide to the 2017 Constitutional Amendments” says the change would create a more permanent and accepted method of dealing with construction projects.

PAR said failure of the amendment to be approved means parish tax assessors might continue to follow their current practices, which generally avoid CWIP taxation. However, the current process can differ from parish to parish, the agency said, and businesses want more predictability.

Those who oppose the amendment say businesses get too many tax breaks already and local governments might want to tax construction work. However, PAR said the great majority of private sector construction is completed within a year and CWIP is not taxed for most projects in Louisiana. Realtors, homebuilders and business groups are supporting the amendment, along with the Louisiana Municipal Association and the Louisiana Police Jury Association, according to LaPolitics.com.

Amendment No. 2 would establish a property tax exemption for the surviving spouse of first responders who died while on duty. An amendment approved last year covers spouses of National Guard members, state police, law enforcement and fire protection officers. This year’s proposed change would extend the current exemption for surviving spouses of volunteer firefighters, emergency medial responders and technicians or paramedics who died while on duty.

Amendment No. 3 establishes a “construction sub-fund” within the state’s Transportation Trust Fund. It would require that any new taxes on gasoline, motor fuels or special fuels would only be used for delivery, construction and maintenance of transportation projects of state and local governments. Taxpayers have been concerned that too many trust funds are being used to pay salaries and other expenses. 

Voters who wish additional information on the three proposed amendments will find more detail at www.parlouisiana.org.

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