There are more than candidates on Saturday’s election ballot. There are four proposed constitutional amendments.
Amendment No. 1 deals with the idea of the state tackling road and infrastructure projects. The twist is the money would come from an account containing money from the BP oil spill settlement.
According to Amendment No. 1, the state has what’s called a stabilization fund or rainy day fund. The Vice President of the Louisiana Oil and Gas Association, Gifford Briggs says the fund will contain money from the BP oil spill settlement. Briggs says but not all of the settle will go into that fund.Briggs says settlement money for damages related to costal restoration have to be used for that. Some money received for economic damages and fines reportedly will be set aside. “The fines and economic damages settlement money portion of that about 25 percent will go into the Budget Stabilization Fund,” says Briggs.
The fund also holds other oil and gas related revenues and royalties. Briggssays the amendment proposes the state use that account to set up another account — to help pay for road repairs and highway needs. Briggs addswhat’s unclear if any of the economic settlement dollars would go into it.”There’s no specific language in the amendment as it relates to any of the settlement money and/or fine money that comes from BP. We will have to wait and see if those monies get shifted around once it comes into the stabilization fund.”
What is clear? Louisiana has many roads that need to be fixed and new ones built. DOTD Public Information Officer Deidra Druilhet explains there are many parts financial parts to a project. “Our main goal is to manage our state’s infrastructure as efficiently as possible with the resources we have in place. So, should either of those constitutional amendments pass we are prepared to deliver projects.”
Amendment No. 2 deals with the state’s road repair needs. If approved, amendment two would allow for a fund to be created where local governments can borrow from for projects at a low interest rate.
According to the Public Affairs Research Council: Amendment No. 3 – provides new guidelines for legislation in a fiscal session. Amendment No. 4 – Allows local governments to tax property within their jurisdictions that is owned by local or state governments outside of Louisiana.