LIVINGSTON — A proposed state law that would allow parishes to set their own rates for homestead exemption drew skepticism from Livingston Parish Assessor Jeff Taylor.
House Bill 12 by state Rep. Steve Carter, R-Baton Rouge, would lead to inequity among parishes throughout the state, the assessor said.
The legislation would authorize a parish governing authority to change the homestead exemption through voter approval.
It would require millage adjustments associated with implementation of a change in the homestead exemption.
Any change in the amount for homestead exemption would take effect at the start of the following calendar year.
State law provides homestead exemption to Louisiana homeowners on the first $75,000 of value on their primary residence. The Legislature determines the homestead exemption, which is applied by assessors in each parish across the state.
The legislation could bring a reduction in property tax with a higher exemption rate but spike the amount if a parish moves it the other direction.
A change in the process would create a bad precedent for the state, Taylor said.
“The law says we should be fair and equitable,” he said. “It doesn’t seem right that some people in Louisiana would get one amount on homestead exemption and others would get the other.”
The state should keep the process consistent, largely because it involves revenue sharing issued by the state, he said. Different exemption amounts parish by parish would complicate the process.
The move could also create unfair advantages for parishes that set higher exemption amounts than others, Taylor said.
Taylor does not yet know if the Louisiana Assessors Association will support or oppose the bill. He said the assessors in neighboring parishes believe the exemption amount should remain consistent statewide.
He suspected another reason behind the bill.
“It’s an election year, and they’re playing to their bases,” Taylor said. “It’s all election-year politics.”
John Dupont is a reporter for the Livingston Parish News. He can be reached at email@example.com. You can also follow him on Twitter @dupont_john.