La. voters to consider constitutional amendments

From the Daily Comet:

Voters statewide will consider five proposed constitutional amendments Oct. 22 and another Nov. 19.

The first set, on the Oct. 22 ballot, deal chiefly with the state budget.

Amendment 1 redirects tobacco- settlement proceeds to the state’s TOPS college-scholarship program. It also makes permanent 4 cents of the state’s 36-cent tax on cigarettes.

About one-third of the state’s full-time college students receive TOPS scholarships, according to the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana.

The rising cost of tuition at Louisiana schools has increased the cost of TOPS, which will cost about $154 million this school year. TOPS now gets most of its money from state tax dollars in the general fund, and the state has been strapped financially for the past several years.

While some anti-tax interests may eventually take Amendment 1 to task, it already has a few high-profile boosters, including House Speaker Jim Tucker, R-Algiers.

Tucker, who is running for secretary of state, said he plans on campaigning for the proposal because it offers a long-range plan and funding source for the popular scholarship program.

“It’s a win-win,” he said.

Visit DailyComet.com for explanations of the remaining amendments.

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