Early voting to begin

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Early voting for the October 14th special election will begin on Saturday, September 30th, and continue through October 7, according to LaSalle Registrar of Voters Angie Sandifer. Early ballots may be cast at the Registrar of Voters office between 8:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. during this time period.

A special election for a State Treasurer and three proposed constitutional amendments will appear on the October 14th ballot as voters go to the polls around the state of Louisiana.

While some voters will face choices in municipality races around the state, LaSalle voters will face a ballot with only the treasurer’s race and the three amendments.

Seven candidates qualified for the special election to become the next Louisiana state treasurer, replacing Republican John Kennedy, who left the job after being elected to the U.S. Senate last fall.

The top three contenders, all Republicans, are: State Senator Neil Riser, a funeral home owner from Caldwell Parish and Senator for District 32 for the past ten years; Angele Davis, a Baton Rouge business consultant who was a state budget administrator for Govs. Mike Foster and Bobby Jindal; former Rep. John Schroder, a businessman and former law enforcement official from St. Tammany Parish.

Also running are Ron Ceasar, an Opelousas independent; lawyer Derrick Edwards, a New Orleans Democrat; Terry Hughes, a Lafayette Republican; and Joseph Little, a Libertarian from Ponchatoula.

Amendments

The three proposed constitutional amendments proposed by the 2017 session of the Louisiana Legislature will be on the ballot. Following is a brief summary of each and our recommendation on each:

No. 1 – “Do you support an amendment to exempt from property taxes materials and other property delivered to a construction site to be made part of a building or other construction?”

At present, the constitution provides certain exemptions from ad valorem taxes (property taxes), which are property taxes based on the fair market value of all property subject to taxation by the assessor in each parish.

The proposed amendment adds an exemption for all property delivered to a construction project site for the purpose of using the property in any tract of land, building, or other construction as a component part until the construction project is complete as defined by law and reasonable industry standards. Once the construction project is complete or a phase is complete, available for its intended use, or operational when the property is assessed by the tax assessor, then the exemption no longer applies. This proposed exemption does not apply to public service property unless otherwise provided by the constitution.

No. 2 – “Do you support an amendment to authorize an exemption from ad valorem property tax for the total assessed value of the homestead of an unmarried surviving spouse of a person who died while performing their duties as an emergency medical responder, technician, paramedic, volunteer firefighter, or a law enforcement or fire protection officer?”

Presently, the constitution provides for an exemption from ad valorem taxes (property taxes) for an unmarried surviving spouse of a person who died and who was either

(1) on active duty as a member of the military (armed forces of the United States or Louisiana National Guard);

(2) a qualified state police officer who died while on duty; or (3) a law enforcement or fire protection officer who qualified for the salary supplement and died while on duty.

This proposed amendment adds this exemption beginning in 2018 for an unmarried surviving spouse of a person who died and was either (1) an emergency medical responder, technician, or paramedic who died while performing the duties of their employment; (2) a volunteer firefighter, verified by the Office of the State Fire Marshal to have died while performing firefighting duties; or

(3) a law enforcement or fire protection officer who died on duty and would have qualified for the salary supplement if he had completed the first year of his employment before his death.

No. 3 – “Do you support an amendment that would dedicate any new tax levied on gasoline, diesel, and special fuels into the Construction Subfund, which solely shall be used for project delivery, construction, and maintenance of transportation and capital transit infrastructure projects and not for funding for the payment of employee wages and related benefits or employee retirement benefits?”

Presently, the constitution creates a special permanent trust fund in the state treasury called the Transportation Trust Fund where “excess revenues” from all taxes levied on gasoline and motor fuels and on special fuels are deposited. The monies in the trust fund are required to be appropriated or dedicated solely and exclusively for the costs of construction and maintenance of the roads and bridges of the state and federal highway systems, the Statewide Flood-Control Program, ports, airports, transit, state police for traffic control purposes, the Parish Transportation Fund and the payment of bonds and other obligations incident thereto or other obligations payable from the trust fund.

This amendment creates the “Construction Subfund” within the Transportation Trust Fund and requires that any new taxes on gasoline, motor fuels, or special fuels on or after July 1, 2017, are to be deposited into the subfund.

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