Louisiana. Constitutional Convention (1973).

Records of the Louisiana Constitutional Convention of 1973 (Volume 8) online

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would we be? Who would pay that additional sixty
percent to carry out the educational system of
this parish. In addi t i on . . . . For these reasons, I
ask you, respectfully, to vote against the amend-
ment .

Parish. They located this mill on the west side
of Sabine River in Texas. We are furnishing a
lot of the pulpwood for this mill, but we lost the
profit from the processing of this pulpwood into
pulp and paper. We will never get that mill there;
we will never get the taxes and the income from
the people that we should, because they are located
over in Texas. We lost that, and as far as we have
been able to determine, we lost that mill because
our tax structure was not favorable to that of
Texas, so we lost it. Now, another good clear
example: The Kirby Lumber Company has a number of
industries, including pulpmills, located on the
Texas side of the river. Now, they come over to
Lou i s i ana - and it's been said up there many times,
and I think this is not exaggerated - their log
trucks and their pulpwood trucks fill up with gas
before they leave Texas; the people come over
there, they bring their lunch, they harvest this
timber out of Vernon Parish, haul it back to Texas,
and Texas is realizing the benefit of the process-
ing of this wood. We would like, very much, to
see that corrected, and if this ten year tax exemp-
tion is nibbled at and nibbled at, it also creates
the impression in industry that we are not politic-
ally mature. I have heard that expression many
times. If you will remember, it was only a few
years ago that a part of the refund on gas used for
industry was repealed. That did not leave a good
taste with industry at all, and if we keep just
nibbling at this thing, there is no way to prevent
industry from thinking we're not sincere. Now,
we do have the largest single....

Mr. Henry You've exceeded your time, Mr.
Hernandez. I'm sorry.

Further Discussion

Further Discussion

Mr. Hernandez Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen
of the convention, I reulctantly rise to oppose
this amendment. I realize Mr. Chehardy's enthus-
iasm for this amendment, but he represents an
entirely different section of the state. I think
that all of you will have to realize that the
Mississippi River from Baton Rouge to New Orleans
is the Ruhr valley of the United States. They
have a lot of industry, but the big portion of
this state - the big majority of the area of
Loui s i ana - does not have this facility. They
don't have the advantages that the Mississippi
River offers, and we, too, need industry to support
our economy in these areas. The argument seems to
be in the face of this amendment, that we need a
sound tax base. I contend, ladies and gentlemen,
that to create a sound tax base, we must have jobs
for our people in the area where it's not a farming
area, where they are dependent on jobs; they must
have jobs. I can cite you, and I was there and
I know how it was, when these large sawmills began
to cut out up in our area, the mills closed down,
people were without jobs and they left there just
like rats leaving a sinking ship. The result was
that - and Mr. Chehardy, I hope you will listen to
this - the result was that Ward 5 of Vernon Parish
had the highest rate of taxation of any political
subdivision in the entire United States. Ward 3
was second, and ladies and gentlemen, there was a
deplorable condition. It took an unusual act
passed by the state legislature to gradually get
this property back on the tax rolls. I asked
research here to look this old law up one time.
It was a very unusual. ..and I'll be glad to discuss
that with any of you. Now, in the last few years
the area of which I speak has experienced quite a
development. We think it was because of the effort
that we have made, and we did have the ten year tax
exemption, which was good. However, I want to call
Mr. Burson's attention to the fact that these mills
do not always locate where the timber is, as he
pointed out so clearly. In the case that I want
to cite as an example: Owen - 1 1 1 i noi s , built a
big mill with the idea of using the timber out of
the western part of Louisiana, chiefly, Vernon


Jac kson Mr. Chairman, ladies and gentlemen

of the convention, I'll be very brief. First of
all, I'd like to point out to you that this week,
and maybe it's ironical that we're discussing this
issue at this present time in history, but this
week is American Education Week. Across the
State of Louisiana there are various meetings
talking about the problems facing education within
our state. I suggest to you that presently, every
time - and I've said this constantly when I came to
this mike and talked about exemptions - tha t pres-
ently, every time we've raised exemptions, broadened
exemptions, we, in effect, say to small business,
to the homeowner, to the renters, that you're going
to have to assume a greater increase in the burden
of financing governmental services in our school
system. I recognize you have a problem where, on
one hand, we need jobs, and on the other hand, we
need an educational system. I suggest to you that
the amendment, as proposed by Mr. Landry, begins
to address ourselves to providing another level of
funding, or a higher standard of funding, of our
educational system.

I don't want to be repetitious and talk about
automation. I don't want to talk about the tre-
mendous amount of exemptions that do not exist on
the present tax rolls, but I do want to point out
a fact that, because we have so worded our tax
proposal, that means that somebody's got to do it.
I strongly suggest that those who are in the best
position to provide our educational system with

some stability of financing particularly, since

that we have limited the state to five and three-
quarter mills, and we're not guaranteed that
they're going to impose that - that we must look to
those industries within the state. I suggest to
you that one of the things you've got to consider
that no industry will locate anywhere if you have
a subpar educational system. Most industries tend
to bring their expertise from outside of the
state. One of the things that I don't believe
that was mentioned is that, granted, industry
does provide jobs for residents of the state. But,
at the same time, they tend to bring in the skilled
workers from other parts of the country. Now, it
seems to me that one of the considerations that
industry is going to have to take under considera-


73rd Days Proceedings — October 26, 1973

tion is the fact of whether those schools, in those
existing parishes where they want to locate, have
an educational system by which their employees
would not reluctantly send their youngsters to
school. I suggest to you that this amendment
does attempt to provide this state, and provide
i ndus try - I ' m not necessarily an ti i ndus t ry - but
to recognize what we've done in our tax proposal,
and to say to industry that, granted, we have
allowed, and we will continue to allow some exemp-
tions. But, when it comes to the education of our
youngsters, everybody in the State of Louisiana has
to pay their fair share.

So, I encourage you, particularly in the fact
that this is American Education Week, and particu-
larly, that there are meetings going around the
state, and some of the topics that I've heard and
some of the communications that I've received have
indicated that the key problem facing our educa-
tional system is the stability of funding. If we
continue those exemptions that we have done to the
degree in the past, that that's going to ultimately
mean that that's going to decrease the effective-
ness and the financial stability of our education
system. So, I think you have to weigh that kind
of consideration, so I ask for favorable adoption
of the Landry amendment.

Further Discussion

Mr. Fontenot Mr. Chairman, fellow delegates, I'd
like you to look at Paragraph (F) of the committee
proposal, and on line 29 - these ten year contracts
in the past have been between the State Board of
Commerce and Industry with the approval of the
governor - if you look at line 29, you'll see that
we added in, in our committee, the approval of the
local governing authority. Now, if you want to get
rid of the tax inducement, I would suggest you vote
along with Paragraph (F) in your parish. If you
don't like to give an industrial tax exemption in
your parish, I don't think you ought to penalize
the rest of the parishes who do. In our parish -
Evangeline Parish - we were very fortunate in the
last couple of years. We got one new corporation
to move down to Evangeline Parish, and in the past
two or three months, we were fortunate in passing
a couple of bond issues; one creating an industrial
park, and one proposing that we construct a building
for Grant Indus tri es - the mobile home dealers - who
decided that they would move down to Evangeline
Parish if we had an industrial park. Now, the
people in my area have a very low per capita income,
and most of the area is based on a farming commun-
ity but more and more people are moving away from
the farms to the big cities. We have a. ..this
proposition vin'i vr>ted, overwhelmingly, in my
parish, to create the industrial park and to build
the first building for the first industry. The
reason it was, because the people just can't find
jobs anymore. They have to go to New Orleans and
Baton Rouge to get jobs. Why are you forcing my
people to move out of the area to go to some place
else to get jobs? Now, if you don't want industry
to have an industrial tax exemption in your parish,
don't penalize my parish. We don't have the
Mississippi River to attract industry. We don't
have the natural gas deal that some of these other
parts of the state have to attract industry. We
don't have the skilled labor that other parishes
have to attract industry. One of the things we
do have is one of the highest rates of unemployment
in the nation. Why don't you stick with Paragraph
(F) and if you don't want industrial tax exemptions
in your area, let the local governing authority
veto the Board of Commerce and Industry contract
with these certain industries? I urge your rejec-
tion of the amendment.

IPrevious Question ordered.]


Mr. E.J. Landry Mr. Chairman, men and women,
ladies and gentlemen, friends of this convention,
if ever there was a time in history of this state.

this is it. I want to express a special apprecia-
tion to those who oppose me, because only by opposi-
tion do you have the theory of intelligent dis-
agreement in operation. That I have enjoyed
throughout this convention. It has caused me to
learn. For those of you who had kind words of
praise, thank you. But, this is the question,
ladies and gentlemen. You have one opportunity in
a lifetime to do something that you may not be
fully aware of. Think of me as a free soul speak-
ing out on an issue that I've been concerned with
a long time - not only locally - I come here repre-
senting every child in this state. I come here. to
give you an opportunity to share the wealth. Here-
tofore, the laws have been written to give to the
individual parishes a tremendous amount of money
when these industries come off the rolls. Now,
if you think clearly, I said at the beginning of
my talk that all of us know more than any one of
us. I spoke to a delegate a moment ago, and made
my point clear, and I thought this would come out,
and it has come out. A delegate asked me a question
a moment ago about my position. My position is
for you, somehow, someway, to figure out a way of
making it uniform for every parish, somehow,
someway, through your delegate, to share in the
benefit of this industry. Now, I've profited a
great deal from my friend, Mr. Steimel. He has
taught me over the years that education in Louisiana
is last, and I've been concerned about it, and I
realize that what he says is right. Now, why is
it that I haven't answered many questions? Because
you have the literature before you. Your best
teacher has been Mr. Ed Steimel. He's made the
people of the nation aware of the fact that we are
last. Now, there are many reasons for that. We
have in my parish, for example there was a time
when the poor black children had to walk to school
- that's 1924 when I first went to St. Charles -
three months of education, that's a 1 1 . . . castof f
books, no transportation. There's a tremendous
lag between the blacks and the whites in the State
of Louisiana. They need a special kind of educa-
tion. You've given a lot of thought to penal
institutions. I listened for six months to the
people who had problems with jails and penal insti-
tutions. That's not where the money ought to go.
The money ought to go into a special kind of educa-
tion that will take care of our negligence. We
neglected something in the past, and in order to
correct it, we need more money. Industry needs
us. Of all the people who need the education,
industry is the one. Question from Mr. Blair.


M r. Blair Mr. Landry, as your amendment is
written at the present time, you would have just
a few parishes really benefiting from this money -
additional money. If it passes, would you be
willing to put it in a statewide school equaliza-
tion fund - all of this money?

Mr. E.J. Landry Mr. Blair, and members of this
convention, if there's one thing I'd like to do -
that is to have you do it, because of the fact that
I made this presenta tion - i s to take care of this
problem by amendment and to share. There will be
many parishes in this state that will have more
money than they know what to do with; mine will
be one of them.

[^Record vote ordered. Amendment
rejected : 57-58. Motion to table
reconsideration adopted: 71-43.}

Personal Pr i vi 1 ege

Mr. Mire Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Fellow
delegates, I hesitate to rise and say something
about someone that I know has had some adverse
conditions at home, and certainly some. ..a situation
that has been hard on him, personally. But, I am
forced to rise to set the record straight on the
attack that was made on this convention yesterday -
on the officials or the delegates of this convention


73rd Days Proceedings — October 26, 1973

we wer
a sect
his pa
part i c
tion t
This i
Drew s
this w
and ge
s i on t
in t h i
a ssess
a verag
c u 1 1 i V
cul tur
c u 1 1 i V
ca ttl e
at six
to you
will t
land -
today ,
peopl e
the un
don ' t
this p
al low
peopl e
have t
set th

day - sta
e i rresp
ion on p
ri sh or
ul arly ,


s t ra i gh
s Webste
aid yes t
oul d ban
ion woul
nt 1 emen ,
his morn
s parish
this is
ed at si
e assess

best la
ated 1 an
e land C
a t e d - - e i
e land -

on - f i r

, if Web
t of fai
ri pi e , m
ment at

value t
d and si
it would

s i xty- f

shou 1 d
real i s t i

1 y gi ven
think th
, and I

a r i s h .

that wi
it to be
to bel i
say tha
have d
e record
, sir, I

onsi b
for t
and I
t, as
r Par
d do

I we
. Hi
the b
ment .
nd - f
d - at
- thi
ght d

r mar
ten p
xty d

i ve d
c and

to u
at he
di dn '
I thi
1 1 de

eve s
t I h
one t

s t ra
' 1 1

that w
1 e , an
ty tax
u p t hi
he new


it is
i s h , a
. He

i t - t
vi ol en
nt to

I Che
s agri
est la

dol la



el eve
s i s s
ol 1 ars
is Ian
ree th
Pari sh
ket va
ercen t
on his
ol 1 ars
ect a
ol 1 ars

s by M

1 ooke
t look
nk tha
feat t
i n the
uch St
ate to
his , b
i ght.

e were u
d that w
es that
s d i s tr i
spaper t

like f

in this
nd I spe
said in
his t h r e
ce to hi
the Loui
eked on
cul ture
nd in We
rs an ac
e ' s CI as
i X t h u s
n dollar
till Ian

and f i f
d that y
ou sand a
cents an

is r e a s
lue toda
pie. Lo

would r

very be
- very b
fair mar

an acre
facts , a
u t-of-a-
r . Drew ,
d a t the

at the
t this i
his cons

a tements

have to
ut 1 fel

nrea 1 i
e had
woul d
ct. I


a k of
his pa
e thou
s pari
s i a n a
the as

1 and -
bs ter
re . T
s B; t
and ac
d that
ty cen
ou ra i
ores 1



y , thi

ok at


St Ian

est la

ket va

. I t

nd I t

hat ta




s the


ers an

as th

have .

t that

ban kr
'd li

to 5

cu 1 ar
wha t
ri sh
Tax C
hat' s
his i
ere .
' s be
ts an
se yo
i ke t
I s

at t
s ass

to a
d of
nd , p
1 ue
hi nk
hi nk
1 k wa
rday .
ds in
on if
d al 1
i s .
. .hat

I ha


i n

et the

ommi s-

h - is

s his

Agri -
i ng

acre .
ubmi t


fa i r

as ture



i n

ow the
I ,

e to
d to

a question.

Mr. Henry Normally you don't ask questions on
personal privilege, but Mr. Fontenot has a


Mr. Fontenot Mr. Cha i rman . . . Mr . Mire, I'd like
to ask you a question. Some of those figures you
brought out did. didn't. failed to bring
out the amount of homes that are on the tax roll
and that will be exempt from now on; did you not,
Mr. Mire? You can do anything with figures, you
know. If you give me enough figures I can tell
you all kind of stories, but you failed to...

Mr. Mire These are actual figures that you can

Mr. Henry Wait just a minute. Turn the mike

Now, if you gentlemen want to get over in the
corner and argue. ..The gentleman is up here on
personal privilege, and we're not going to start
this property tax debate all over again.

Personal Privilege


. Drew





11 take

just a mi

nu te

were not

interpreted by


. Mire.


i dea

of g


ask you to



1 n

this convention.


from what






and seeing



gures w

ihi ch

Mr. M

i re


d that


1 edge



e figures that Mr

. Mi


dustrial inventor

y an


at thirty


, ladies and gentlemen,
I hope that my remarks

everyone as they were by
etting up here yesterday was
because when you are sitting

have a different perspective

you are sitting back at a
t's going on here. The
gave you are correct. I

I got up here and spoke,
re did not give you is that
d equipment is presently
thirty -five percent, which

will be
you can
and mak
you sta
has bee
you wi 1
out, I
with th
in this
that yo
f or a t
like so
in Webs
on the
a g r i c u 1
a d d i t i
under t
and I w
it is t
tion f
of this
compl a i
and I h
had , an
to nurs
to maid
state .
the fig
to look
you mak
s i n t h
go wi th
to cri t
that I
have be
said in
a dedic
I am CO
what we
this pr


t, ig
e a w
rt cu

n ado
1 loo
e val

u rai


d dol
ter P

dol 1
thi ng
nal t
his p

a bou
ill c
otal 1
r thi

ned a
ave n
d I h
es, I
d dol
for t

I di

at t
e the
at is

i ci ze
can s
en su

of th
nv i nc
' ve d

ced by more

out those t
nore the thi
onderful tal
tting part o
r this const
pted - you ha
k at the val
they are pr
uations in t
e. Our farm
se sugarcane
nd dollars a
of the rive
sh , that sel
1 ars an acre
ari sh sells
ars an acre .
We wi 1 1 h
interest wi
axes, and in
revision tha
t the homest
ontinue to s
y unreal to
rty thousand
e , as I said
bout paying
ot had the f
ave tal ked t
have tal ked
d I found no
lar homestea
he State of
d not intend
that Mr. Mir
he entire pa
proper cone
val id. I t
I said y e s t
this conven
ee more read
bjected to s
pas t , I have
e critics be
group of peo
ed that we c
one in the p
1 . Thank yo

than fi
h i n g s f
ngs tha
k up he
f i t ba
i tu ti on
ve hurt
etty we
he majo
land is
on , do
n acre .
Is for
. The
from a
ave an
11 undo
dus try
t you h
ead - an
tand by
grant a
their f
i rs t CO

to jan
one th

d exemp
L u i s i a
to mi s
e gave
ri sh ta

1 us i on
hink th
tion ex
i 1 y at
ome cri

been t
cause I
pie doi
an do a
as t , an

fty p
a vora
t are
ck - o
a 1 pr

my p

1 1 mu
ri ty

wn he

s the
i ncre
ave a
d I s



day ,
air s
mpl a i
rs ; I
i 1 r s
at th
na or
you ,

at I

I di
t i c i s
he mo

ng th

d par
Cha i r

bl e to y

unfa vor
Gentl eme
ver f i f t
V i s i n
ari sh .

Mr. Mir
c h in 1 i
of the p
1 i ke the
re, that

land is
, even i
ge farml
ed to tw

di f f ere
ase . Th
ly be pa
be pay i n
dopted .
tand by
- that I
stead ex
s. The
have nev
hare of
nt . I h

have ta
; I have
ought th
was a re

any o th
you . I
but you
ucture b
each a c
will ha V
d not me
to the f
state wh
m. As I
s t sever
k that t
e i r best
better t
t i c u 1 a r 1
man .






e read


a r i s h e s
1 and


to a



g less


peopl e

ta xes ,
1 ked

tal ked
i rty
a 1 i St i c
oncl u-
e to
y we


his is
. But,
y wi th


Mr . St i nson Mr. Drew, isn't it a fact that in
the northern part of your parish at Springhill
that you have the multimillion dollar International

Paper Company? If that is reduced the figures

you say - it will really be chaotic to the people
up in those school districts and such as that in
that area , won't it?

Mr. Drew I wish I had the percentage of the
taxes in the parish of Webster that are paid by
International Paper Company, Mr. Stinson. It would
be astounding.

[_Motion to taJce up other orders adopted
without objection, 1


Mr. Poynter The next amendment is sent up by
Delegate Perez going back to Paragraph (A).

Amendment No. 1. On page 2, in Floor Amendment
No. 1 offered by Delegate Mire and adopted by the
Convention on October 24, on line 4 of the text
of the amendment after the words "following prop-
erty" and before the words "shall be" insert the
following words "and no other".


Mr. Perez Mr. Chairman and ladies and gentlemen
of the convention, I can assure you this is not
a repetition of anything else that's been before
this convention. It would squarely lay before this
convention whether or not we want to have the


73rd Days Proceedings — October 26, 1973

possibility of the tax base of local government and
of school districts continually eroded away over a
period of years by additional exemptions being
granted by the legislature. I might call to your
attention that in the present constitution, and
in the proposal by this committee, you have over
five and a half pages of exemptions to the collec-
tion of property taxes as we now have it. I have
been told, for instance, that thirty-eight percent
of the property of the city of New Orleans is
exempt at this time; that over two hundred and fifty
million dollars in the parish of Rapides is exempt,
which comprises about twenty-five percent of their
total tax base. I think that if all of you
would sit down and reflect for just a little while
as to what has happened here at this convention,
and think about all of the various delegates here
who would like to see this exempt and that exempt
and something else exempt, that you will see what
will happen to the tax base for local government
in time to come. We talk about the fact that
continually local government and schools are called
upon to provide more and more services. We contin-
ually need more schools, more sewerage, more water,
more libraries, more publicly owned hospitals,
fire protection, ambulances, on and on, and on and
on - all of these many services which have to be
provided on a local basis. Now, you know when a
bill is introduced in the legislature and when it
has not. ..when the state is essentially out of the

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