Louisiana voters throw out tax on vehicles

| 11/10/2006

Louisiana residents this week decided to spare themselves possible vehicle tax bills. Trailers and semi-trailers are not affected.

On Election Day, about 61 percent of voters approved an amendment to the state's constitution to prohibit the levying of a property tax on motor vehicles, including large trucks. Currently, local governments are allowed to adopt the tax, but only New Orleans has done so.

The city of New Orleans levied nearly $8 million in property taxes on motor vehicles in 2004 but collected only about $5.2 million, which was distributed among various local governments, The Times-Picayune reported. The money was distributed among the city, the school board and other taxing authorities.

Proponents of Amendment 4 on the statewide ballot said the levy was assessed on vehicles by make rather than market value.

Opponents, including New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, said that New Orleans should not be hamstrung in raising money, particularly in wake of Hurricane Katrina.

The amendment prohibits the tax effective immediately.