Are Some New Revenue Generating Bills Unconstitutional ?
I often speak in less than favorable terms about the Louisiana Legislature. I do believe that our elected officials should be held to a higher standard. I have to admit I have been pleasantly surprised and how this session of the legislature addressed a major financial mountain.
The imposing budget shortfall of $1.6 billion dollars was going to mean some tough choices or some creative thinking. I think in many cases the legislature came through. Now there appears to be one other hurdle that these measure will have to face.
State Treasurer John Kennedy has taken a look at some of these new revenue generating bills and he has some concerns. Not so much with the language of the law but how the bills were voted into law. Five of the eleven bills that address revenue generation may be unconstitutional because they were passed with a simple majority vote.
I think Article 7, Section 2 is very clear that you cannot raise an existing tax, you can't levy a new tax, and you can't change a tax exemption without a two-thirds vote.
Treasurer Kennedy's comments were reported by the Louisiana Radio Network.
Why would the legislature do something that is in blatant violation of the document they swore to uphold? The answers lies in an Attorney General's opinion from 1993. Regarding voting and suspension of an existing tax exemption.
An AG's opinion is just that, an opinion. I respect them. But if you read the AG's Opinion is not really even on point.
In Kennedy's opinion these revenue generation bills could be disallowed if there are legal actions taken against them. You can bet the line is forming right now to get the legal motions moving.
So what looks like progress might be disguised as another great payday for the legal profession funded by the working people of Louisiana. Nice job legislature you almost got me to like you but in the end your true colors and lack of understanding what your elected position is all about has come shining through.