I have put it off as long as I could. I must address the 14 proposed Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot next week. I can’t justify voting all yea or all nay, just to avoid having to figure out the amendments. So here goes. I will share how I have decided to vote. I hope my thought processes will help you, even if it’s just to show you what NOT to do. Remember you can get much more detail in the PAR guide or from guidance put out by many partisan groups.
Amendment One: Give constitutional protection to provisions in the Louisiana Medical Assistance Trust Fund and set a baseline compensation rate for nursing homes and certain other healthcare providers that pay a provider fee.
YES. Louisiana and 43 other states use this procedure to get matching federal funds. Fees are assessed against nursing homes and certain other healthcare facilities. The feds match these funds. In the past this money has been diverted from the providers who pay the fees to other health care needs. That’s just not right. I understand that more money you protect from diversion, the less available to handle problems that come up. I just believe those who pay should get the benefit.
Amendment Two: Allow an assessment on hospitals to draw down more federal Medicaid dollars for the institutions and create a Hospital Stabilization Fund.
YES. I am voting yes for the same reasons I am supporting Amendment one. I have worked with small hospitals and health care providers since 1981. They need all the funding help they can get. Like many other areas, in health care the richer are just getting richer and the little guy is having trouble surviving.
Amendment Three: A vote FOR would allow local governments the option to use a private firm to help collection of delinquent property taxes and the process of selling property whose owners are tax delinquent.
YES. I say give locals as many options as possible.
Amendment Four: A vote FOR would allow the State Treasurer to invest public funds into a Louisiana Transportation Infrastructure Bank, in the event that such a bank is created.
NO. Oh come on. Let’s not put provisions in the Constitution, IN CASE, we need them in the future.
Amendment Five: A vote FOR would eliminate the mandatory retirement age of 70 for judges.
YES. The older I get the more I respect the wisdom of age and the less I like mandatory anything.
Amendment Six: A vote FOR would raise the Orleans Parish special millage caps for police and fire protection from five to 10 mills, giving the New Orleans City Council authority to levy additional mills with voter approval.
YES. I say if the New Orleans voters want to vote for higher taxes let them. What business is it of ours here in Acadiana?
Amendment Seven: A vote FOR would give a bonus homestead exemption to veterans rated with 100% “unemployability”in parishes where a similar tax break has been approved by voters.
YES. Help veterans and the voters have already approved. What’s the problem? The opposition just wants to help them more. Let’s give them what we can now.
Amendment Eight: A vote FOR would establish the Artificial Reef Development Fund in the Constitution and prohibit using its money for purposes other than those described in the amendment.
YES: This is another provision to protect certain funds from the grubby hands of politicians. They have already voted by a 2/3 vote that they need this restraint. What’s left to say?
Amendment Nine: A vote FOR would eliminate the need that homeowners under the age of 65 who are permanently disabled must certify every year that their income meets the threshold for an assessment freeze.
YES: I hate unnecessary paperwork.
Amendment Ten: A vote FOR would require each parish to shorten the redemption period for vacant blighted or abandoned property sold at a tax sale to 18 months after the sale has been recorded.
YES: I also hate unnecessary legal delays.
Amendment Eleven: A vote FOR would increase the limit of allowed state government departments from 20 to 21, effectively creating a Department of Elderly Affairs.
YES: The older I get the more I believe the elderly have just as much right to have affairs as everyone else.
Amendment Twelve: A vote FOR would change the membership of the Wildlife and Fisheries Commission to require that two at-large members come from parishes north of a line created by Allen, Avoyelles, Beauregard, Evangeline and Pointe Coupee.
NO: This is a silly waste of voter time. This should not be in the Constitution. Besides, North Louisiana isn’t really Louisiana.
Amendment Thirteen: A vote FOR would allow government-owned property in the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans to be sold to specified classes of buyers at a nominal rate to be established by the Legislature.
YES: This is necessary to help clean up the mess that remains in the Lower Ninth Ward.
Amendment Fourteen: A vote FOR would forbid the introduction of legislation related to tax rebates, tax incentives or tax abatements in even-numbered years when the Legislature holds a general session and specifically allow such legislation in odd-numbered years during fiscal sessions.
YES: This keeps every other year a fiscal session. I’m not sure that the alternating year theory works, but this at least keeps in neat.
There you have it. My votes. I know, “Who Cares.” Comments and discussions are welcomed. I could be convinced to vote differently. Why not try?