This fall there are 11 constitutional amendments on the ballot for voters to decide. It’s not a record, by any means, but it is still well above what we usually see. Eight will be decided on the November 8 ballot, and three others come up on December 10. As always, these amendments are something we believe voters need to pay attention to.
At least a couple deal with issues that are fairly substantive, such as allowing the state to invest more of its revenues in stocks and permitting some civil service employees to participate in political activities. Some could be seen as attempts to fix problems in the current constitution or revisit issues voters have already addressed to some degree. And others might be considered as symbolic, but make statements on important issues such as slavery and voting.
It is interesting to note that six of the 11 amendments up for consideration seek changes to Article VII of the constitution that deals with state and local fiscal issues. That is hardly surprising since we see similar patterns year after year, especially with proposals to adjust and expand various property tax exemptions.
We should remember that ideally our constitution is the framing document that states our basic principles and outlines the powers and duties of the government. But reading through these amendments, it is easy to see how we have taken that notion much further, prescribing things in our foundational document that would more appropriately be placed in statute and decided by our elected leaders.
Be that as it may, almost every year voters are asked to approve changes to the constitution and this year there are more to consider than usual. One thing to keep in mind is that in most cases these amendments are not as simple as they seem. There is a backstory, of sorts, to all of them and it soon becomes apparent that context is important. The ballot language is usually kept short and simple, but rarely does it tell you what you need to know to make an informed decision.
Once again CABL has analyzed the amendments and offered our thoughts and recommendations. But mostly, we hope voters will use this guide and other resources that are available to familiarize themselves with the issues before they cast their votes. We will release our analysis of the amendments on the December ballot prior to that election.
Changing our constitution is not something we should undertake lightly. If we make a mistake, it is often difficult to repair it in short order. Nevertheless, deciding constitutional matters is one of our important responsibilities as citizens, and we hope voters will consider these proposals thoughtfully and make their voices heard.
Click here for CABL Recommendations on 2022 Constitutional Amendments
Amendment #1: Allow Trust Funds to Invest More Revenues in Stocks
Amendment #2: Provide Additional Property Tax Exemptions to Disabled Veterans
Amendment #3: Allow Classified Civil Service Employees to Support Campaigns of Family Members
Amendment #4: Allow Local Governments to Reduce Water Bills in Certain Circumstances
Amendment #5: Provide Flexibility in Property Tax Adjustments
Amendment #6: Limit Increases in Property Tax Assessments in Orleans Parish
Amendment #7: Remove Exception in the Prohibition of Involuntary Servitude
Amendment #8 : Remove Requirement that Disabled Tax Payers Annually Certify their Income to Receive a Special Tax Break