NEW ORLEANS– When we head to the polls on November 3rd, we’ll be electing public officials and making decisions about how our state constitution works.
Amendment 5 is being seen by some as being too friendly to business and industry, and retired Lt. Gen Russel Honore’ is among it’s opponents.
Honore’ says, “I think Amendment 5 opens the door to be another disaster for Louisiana. It gives industry, inside the parishes, the ability to negotiate what taxes they’re going to pay,.”
Honore’ has never been a man to mince his words, and he along with the group Together Louisiana are opposed to Amendment 5 on the November ballot. The amendment is titled ‘Payment in Lieu of Taxes.’
The bill’s author, Senator Mark Abraham of Lake Charles, admits that there are problems with the amendment’s name.
According to Abraham, “It’s a tool in in the tool chest of local government. That’s how I view it. A lot of people believe that the way it’s worded that I’m giving industry some big break where they give some money for no taxes in perpetuity in the future.”
That’s exactly how the folks with Together Louisiana view the Amendment 5, sweetheart deals for the corporations on the local level.
Honore’ continued, “(They’ll say) we’re gonna put this 2 billion dollar plant here. We’re gonna give you a few hundred thousand dollars a year. We’re gonna bring jobs. But we don’t want to pay what you pay for property tax and what you pay for ad valorem taxes.”
Proponents of the amendment tried and failed in 2017 and 2019 to get the amendment on the ballot, but this year they got the votes they needed in the COVID session with opponents could not show up, due to precautions. However, the opposition has organized on the ground in advance of the election, holding a statewide zoom call this week.
On the call, Shawn Anglim of Together Louisiana stated, “We’re here to educate ourselves about amendment 5 and then to take action on that education.”
Speaking of education, property taxes pay for education and other services to our local communities, and some make the argument that this amendment takes money away from those entities since the taxes would not be paid.
Abraham disagrees, “That industry that came in is paying no extra taxes but is giving you jobs, they’re paying sales taxes, those sorts of things, so you’re not decreasing your cash flow when an industry locates here, because you didn’t have industry there before.”