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State Rep. Matthew Willard’s proposed Constitutional Amendment to limit assessment increases on residential properties in Orleans Parish at 10 percent annually is on to the Senate after passing in the House of Representatives on Monday, May 10.

As of press time, the bill had been received by the state Senate and referred to the Committee on Revenue and Fiscal Affairs

“I made a promise to the people of District 97 that I would take action to protect them from the impact soaring real estate values have had on their tax bills,” said state Rep. Willard. “We’ve cleared the first major hurdle in seeing this through the House. I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Senate to bring this to a vote of the people.”

In 2019, property value assessments across the city increased by nearly 15 percent, with some residents seeing their tax bills more than double and sparking concerns that rising assessments would force New Orleanians, unable to pay ballooning property tax bills, out of their homes and even the city.

Rep. Willard worked with Orleans Parish Assessor Erroll Williams and members of the New Orleans City Council to develop HB 143. He first proposed this legislation for the 2020 Regular session but voluntarily withdrew the bill to allow the legislature to focus on proposed items related to the pandemic.

HB 143 would cap the annual increase on a taxable assessment at 10 percent for residential properties with a homestead exemption. The limitation would not apply to rental or commercial properties. Additionally, in the case of a property transfer or a material improvement such as a renovation or addition, the 10 percent cap would not apply, and the property would be subject to taxation to the extent the increase in value is attributable to those changes. 

The legislation passed the House with 97 “yes” votes and three “no” votes. Because it requires a change to the state constitution, HB 143 would have to be approved by voters across the state as a constitutional amendment in order to take effect once it passes the State House and Senate, even though the scope of the bill is limited to Orleans Parish.