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Meet your Constitutional amendments

A pretty uninspiring bunch, if you ask me.

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Now that the dust has settled on the 84th Texas Legislature, voters are getting the first official look at which constitutional amendments they will be voting on come November.

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos on Wednesday took the last step to place seven propositions on this fall’s general election ballot, all of which were approved by two-thirds of all state lawmakers during the just-ended session. Per state law, they are chosen randomly in a drawing to assign the order in which each proposition will appear on the Nov. 3 ballot.

All told, they run the gamut of state issues, from the serious to the mundane, and they create a narrative of the session that is not at all inconsistent with what really happened under the Pink Dome.

Here are the amendments, in the order they will appear on your ballot.

Proposition 1 (SJR 1)

“The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption, and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.”

Proposition 2 (HJR 75)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran who died before the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect.”

Proposition 3 (SJR 52)

“The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.”

Proposition 4 (HJR 73)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.”

Proposition 5 (SJR 17)

“The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.”

Proposition 6 (SJR 22)

“The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.”

Proposition 7 (SJR 5)

“The constitutional amendment dedicating certain sales and use tax revenue and motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax revenue to the state highway fund to provide funding for nontolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.”

I will be voting No on #s 3 and 7 and probably on 1, Yes on #2, and I have no idea yet on the others. What about you?

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4 Comments

  1. James Jones says:

    Kuff, why are you opposed to Prop 7? What would you propose differently to fund the State’s transportation needs?

  2. James – I think dedicating a portion of sales taxes like that is a bad idea, one that will mostly serve as an incentive for future Legislatures to engage in budget shenanigans. If the Lege wants to spend more money on roads, it should simply appropriate more money for roads. The approach of handcuffing themselves and their eventual successors to force a specific outcome is bad public policy.

    As for what I would propose, I have been clear about that for several years now: I support raising the gas tax (which has not been increased since 1991) and indexing it to inflation. Doing so would solve the problem without causing other problems.

  3. Ross says:

    More information here http://ballotpedia.org/Texas_2015_ballot_measures

    #1 – probably for
    #2 – For
    #3 – Against, there’s no reason for officials to hide in their home counties
    #4 – probably for
    #5 – For, this just increases the population limit already in the Constitution from 5000 to 7500. The provision was enacted in 1980 to help folks in remote areas where there may not be any contractors available to do road work, but the County has the equipment and the time. This allows, but does not require, counties to do private work at prevailing rates. It looks like this adds 20 counties to the list. Here’s the original amendment and analysis, along with analysis of the raffle amendment from 1980 http://www.lrl.state.tx.us/scanned/Constitutional_Amendments/amendments66_tlc_1980-11-04.pdf
    #6 – For
    #7 – TBD. If this dedicates just motor vehicle sales taxes, then I don’t have any real objection.

  4. Joel says:

    definitely no on #3.

    also, when in doubt, i will vote “no.”