Louisiana Act 1049, passed on Nov. 2, 2010, potentially doubles the current homestead exemption for an eligible disabled veteran or their spouse. Each parish is required to hold an election for taxpayers to decide if they approve the increased exemption.
"I personally support this," said WPPJ President Charlie Walker. "There are approximately 100 disabled veterans in Webster Parish that would be affected by this."
Currently, for a qualifying disabled veteran or their spouse, the first $75,000 of their home's value is exempt from taxation. Proposition passage would double the exemption to the first $150,000 of their home's value, as of Jan. 1, 2012.
According to the Webster Parish Tax Assessor's website (websterassessor.org), homestead exemptions apply to "residential property which is owned and occupied by any veteran of the armed forces with a service connected disability rating of 50 percent or greater, or spouses of members of the armed forces or Louisiana National Guard who are KIA/MIA/POW for a period exceeding 90 days."
As a special election, parish taxpayers must pay election expenses. Louisiana Secretary of State Policy Planner Richard Adcock said, "Special elections cost a maximum of around $1,500 per precinct."
However, according to Adcock, combining special elections with regularly-scheduled elections saves parish taxpayers money.
"Let's say there are 10 items on the ballot and the state has nine of them. The state is going to pick up around 90 percent of the cost," he said.
With all 43 Webster precincts involved, this special election will cost Webster taxpayers an estimated $3,225 to $6,450.