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Story Archives: Historic election Tuesday
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|Historic election Tuesday|
It's an election destined to be discussed in history books for generations to come.
When voters go to the polls in the Tuesday, Nov. 4 general election, they will inevitably make history by electing the first black president or the first female vice president.
Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois, the Democratic Party nominee for president, and Sen. Joe Biden of Delaware, the Democratic Party nominee for vice president, will face Sen. John McCain and Gov. Sarah Palin. McCain is the Republican Party nominee for president; Palin is the GOP's nominee for vice president.
Presidential politics aside, Tuesday's election could prove historic in Louisiana, too, because of a heated race for the U.S. Senate.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a Democrat from New Orleans who hails from one of Louisiana's distinguished political families, faces heavy opposition from State Treasurer John Kennedy. Kennedy is a Republican from Zachary.
Recent polls indicated the race is virtually deadlocked.
That's the case because Kennedy is expected to benefit from appearing on the same ballot as McCain and Palin. The McCain/Palin ticket is expected to carry Louisiana with 55 percent-60 percent of the vote in the presidential race.
Some political analysts say Kennedy could ride McCain's coattails and unseat Landrieu, ending Landrieu's career in politics.
And just in case voters did not have enough to consider, the Legislature placed seven constitutional amendments on Tuesday's ballot for voters to decide.
Amendment 1 would establish a three-consecutive-term limit for a number of state boards and commissions, including the Public Service Commission, the Civil Service Commission and the Bond Commission.
Amendment 2 would change the required number of days between the announcement of a special legislative session and the beginning of the session from five to seven. Also, Amendment 2 defines a day as a 24-hour period.
That issue arose last year when Gov. Bobby Jindal issued his second call for a special session of the Legislature on a Wednesday evening, leaving some legislators only two business days to prepare for the session.
Amendment 3 would give the Legislature authority to appoint temporary successors for legislators called to active military duty. Currently, if a sitting legislator is called to active duty, he must forfeit his seat or leave his district unrepresented.
Under the terms of Amendment 3, legislators could provide a mechanism to appoint a temporary successor to fill the seat until the legislator's return.
Amendment 4 would increase the percentage of oil and gas severance taxes that the state returns to the parish from which the tax originated. Also, Amendment 4 also would raise the caps from $850,000 per parish a year to more than $1.2 million a year.
Property owners who claim special exemptions due to retirement or military service could see some relief from a loophole that snags many Louisiana residents.
State tax laws provide the exemptions to military personnel and retired families as a means of economic development and retaining citizens.
However, if the parties sell the property they have claimed the exemption, they cannot claim the exemption on any new home they purchase.
Amendment 5 would make such property tax exemptions transferable.
Amendment 6 would alter the way certain properties purchased via eminent domain are resold. Current state law provides mechanisms for eminent domain to be used to buy properties damaged or at risk of environmental damage due to blight.
Following recovery, those properties are then sold at current market values.
However, Amendment 5 would provide a right of first refusal to the former property owners. Such a right already exists for other eminent domain purchases made by the state.
A final amendment would allow the state retirement benefits plan to invest non-pension funds in the stock market. Currently, the Louisiana Constitution prohibits investing of any state retirement funds in the stock market.
However, under the terms of Amendment 7, that restriction would be lifted on money contributed to non-pension accounts and would allow those funds to be invested in stock markets.
In the city of Monroe, voters will also be asked to consider five ad valorem tax renewals as well as one new tax for improvements to the Monroe Regional Airport.
Speaking with The Ouachita Citizen last week, Monroe Mayor Jamie Mayo called the six property taxes "critical" and said the failure of any one of them could plunge some vital services into economic turmoil.
"Any one of the renewals would put us in a tight spot if they weren't renewed," Mayo said.
Combined, the six property taxes produce more than $4.6 million and fund projects from the zoo to the fire department.
The six city of Monroe ad valorem tax propositions are:
- Proposition 1: 2.5 mills for maintenance and operations at the Monroe Civic Center, which will generate an estimated $950,000 a year.
- Proposition 2: 2.5 mills for maintenance and operations at the Louisiana Purchase Gardens and Zoo, which will generate an estimated $950,000 a year.
- Proposition 3: 3.25 mills capital improvements tax, generating approximately $1.25 million per year for capital improvements to city facilities and equipment.
- Proposition 4: 1.5 mills for the Monroe Police Department, which will generate approximately $570,000 annually for equipment, maintenance and operations.
- Proposition 5: 1.5 mills for the Monroe Fire Department, generating approximately $570,000 annually for equipment, maintenance and operations.
- Proposition 6: 1 mill for construction and maintenance projects at the Monroe Regional Airport, which will generate approximately $380,000 a year in revenue.
Polls in the Nov. 4 election open at 6 a.m. and close at 8 p.m.
Voters must present identification to cast their ballots.