Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reasons to oppose Amendment 1

The Louisiana Budget Project has published the best reasons to vote against Amendment 1 in this Saturday's election: it "would damage the ability of state and local governments to provide revenue needed to support health care, education, and other essential services."

Aside from the simple fact that a constitution should comprise the broad values that define a state, not a laundry list of issues that would be better addressed in law and policy, this amendment is a bad idea.

It would prohibit local governments from assessing a transfer fee when real estate is sold. But there is only one parish where such a fee now exists, and there are no plans elsewhere to establish a transfer fee.

The amendment's proponents want to make sure that there never will be, and are willing to clog up the constitution with more micromanagement to accomplish that end.

Its supporters tend to be the same people who say they want smaller government, yet they are willing to tie the hands of the smallest level of government. Limiting local authority to raise revenues makes local government more dependent on state and federal resources, which sort of defeats the purpose.

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