Voters will decide on seven state constitutional amendments on the ballot this year. Here’s a breakdown of amendments #3 and #4.
Amendment #3 – “Do you support an amendment to allow for the use of the budget stabilization fund, also known as the rainy day fund, for state costs associated with a disaster declared by the federal government?”
State government can dip into the fund if there’s a decline in the economy or decline in state revenue. A vote for the amendment would allow the fund to be used to pay for expenses in response and relief for a federally declared disaster, like a hurricane. A vote against would keep the fund only for budget shortfalls.
“When revenue goes down, or estimates go down, you can tap that fund to put into your operating budget,” says Robert Travis Scott of the Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana. “It’s like a little piggy bank you might say. What this amendment would do, it would say, under a federally declared disaster, that gives you another reason you can go in and tap it.”
Amendment #4 – “Do you support an amendment to limit the growth of the expenditure limit for the state general fund and dedicated funds and to remove the calculation of its growth factor from the constitution?”
Right now the state must have a balanced budget. State spending can not go over state revenue.
The current spending limit is around $14 billion.
According to PAR, a vote for would create a new state budget spending limit with probable slower growth. A vote against would keep the spending limit the same.
PAR has put together a voters guide that explains each amendment, and presents arguments for and against. If you would like a copy of the guide, click here.