Louisiana Constitutional Amendment 4: Affordable Housing

New Orleans Musicians Village Rainbow Row. Photo by Tanya Lukasik

This October, people across Louisiana will have the power to help ease the affordable housing crisis in New Orleans.

The Louisiana New Orleans Affordable Housing Property Tax Exemption Amendment on the ballot would allow the City of New Orleans to (a) exempt a portion of a property’s assessed value, (b) exempt the full assessed value of a property, or (c) keep assessed values at the level for the year prior to the exemption going into effect. In addition, this measure prevents properties used as short-term rentals (STRs) from receiving the exemption. Loss of revenue caused by exemptions authorized by this amendment can not result in a taxing authority raising or imposing additional taxes on taxpayers who are not covered by the exemption, and any exemption granted under the amendment cannot be the cause of a property value reassessment.

According to Action New Orleans, Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s political action committee, the city would make up any revenue lost as a result of granted exemptions by using the amendment as a tool to get blighted and empty properties back onto the market, effectively expanding the tax base. Through this, Mayor Cantrell believes that the exemption would essentially pay for itself.

This could also help current longtime New Orleans residents stay in their homes by:

  • Reducing the impact of higher tax assessments and property taxes on longtime and first-time homeowners;
  • Increasing the availability of affordable rentals;
  • Providing additional incentives for the construction of new housing;
  • Allowing tax incentives for landlords who keep rents steady.

If the amendment is approved, the New Orleans City Council would be responsible for deciding who will qualify for the tax relief, and incentives will not be based on income.

The measure has received unilateral support across Louisiana, and has been endorsed by politicians, political groups, and media outlets on both sides of the aisle, including:

  • Gambit
  • Louisiana Democrats
  • Step Up Louisiana
  • Greater New Orleans Fair Housing Action Center
  • Enterprise
  • National Association of Real Estate Brokers
  • Greater New Orleans Inc. Regional Economic Development
  • Business Council of New Orleans & The River Region

Big Easy Magazine joins these groups in urging voters to vote YES on Amendment 4.

Jenn Bentley is a freelance journalist and editor currently serving as Editor-in-Chief of Big Easy Magazine. Her work has also been featured in publications such as Wander N.O. More, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, Examiner.com, and others. Follow her on Twitter: @JennBentley_

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