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Louisiana Votes No On Amendment 5

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Voters rejected an amendment intended to allow local municipalities to negotiate tax rates.

Voters have rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have allowed industry to negotiate tax rates with local municipalities.

Amendment 5 would have authorized local governments to enter into cooperative endeavor ad valorem tax exemption agreements with new or expanding manufacturing establishments for payments in lieu of taxes.

Opponents said it would give preference to private businesses and result in less funding for education and infrastructure by allowing local politicians to negotiate the terms of tax payments.

“I’m delighted,” said Anne Rolfes, with the advocacy group the Louisiana Bucket Brigade. “The petrochemical industry consistently tries to move its operations to backroom deals so they can take more and money from taxpayers — and tonight the taxpayers said ‘no.’”

Her organization rallied hard against the amendment and held a protest in St. James Parish. Together Louisiana, a grassroots coalition of 250 religious congregations and civic organizations, also lobbied against it.

They argue that it would have incentivized short-term gains over long-term planning for local municipalities. Local governments would then receive less tax revenue, which could lead to spending cuts or an increase in taxes.

The Louisiana School Board Association, the Police Jury Association and the Louisiana Sheriff’s Association all supported the measure. They did not respond to repeated requests for comment, but have said the amendment will help local governments prioritize how tax dollars are invested.

At the time the Associate Press called it, 62 percent had voted against Amendment 5.

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Tegan has reported on the coast for WWNO since 2015. In this role she has covered a wide range of issues and subjects related to coastal land loss, coastal restoration, and the culture and economy of Louisiana’s coastal zone, with a focus on solutions and the human dimensions of climate change. Her reporting has been aired nationally on Planet Money, Reveal, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, Marketplace, BBC, CBC and other outlets. She’s a recipient of the Pulitzer Connected Coastlines grant, CUNY Resilience Fellowship, Metcalf Fellowship, and countless national and regional awards.

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