BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — Louisiana's homestead exemption will stay as is, after lawmakers refused to give local government the ability to lessen the property tax break treasured by homeowners.

The House Ways and Means Committee voted 9 to 3 against the proposal by Republican Rep. Steve Carter of Baton Rouge.

Louisiana exempts the first $75,000 value of an individual's home from property taxes. Carter's constitutional amendment would have allowed parish governments to lower that exemption in their parishes, if approved by voters there.

Carter says he wanted to give local government more flexibility to generate revenue for operations. He stressed that voters would have to agree.

Opponents objected to the possibility of raising taxes on homeowners. Monroe Republican Rep. Jay Morris called it an "attack on the middle class."

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House Bill 12: www.legis.la.gov