TEXAS – Texas voters took to the polls on Tuesday and voted to pass nine out of 10 of the state propositions on the ballot.
The 10 props dealt with everything from retiring law enforcement animals to the state's tax code. Here is what happened to each proposition and what it means moving forward.
Texas Proposition 1: FAILED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 1 would have allowed judges to serve in more than one municipality as elected or appointed officials. They are already allowed to serve in multiple municipalities as appointed officials when beneficial to the state, and the Texas State constitution prevents elected officials from doing the same. This proposition received unanimous support from both Democrats and Republicans during the 2019 legislative session but voters decided not to pass it Tuesday.
Texas Proposition 2: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 2 will allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue general obligation bonds to economically distressed areas with significant water or sewer needs of up to $200 million on a continuing basis without requiring a vote. Previously, these bonds are issued in increments of $250 million, but required a vote to be dispersed.
Texas Proposition 3: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 3 will allow the state legislature to provide tax exemptions for neighborhoods declared disaster areas by the governor. There is an accompanying bill that will govern the rules for how this exemption works, when and how to declare the exemptions, and the exemption rates.
Texas Proposition 4: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual's share of partnership and unincorporated association income.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 4 is about a state income tax, but not in the way you might think. Before this election, the Texas State Constitution required the state to put the idea of a personal income tax to a vote, which would have passed with a simple majority of more than 50 percent of that vote. Prop 4 places a ban on ever enacting an income tax on individuals, thus requiring a constitutional amendment (and a two-thirds majority vote) to overturn. More than half of Texas voters were in favor of this prop.
Texas Proposition 5: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas' natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 5 dedicates all of the tax revenue from the sale of sporting goods to be used for the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation and the Texas Historical Commission. The previous law allowed the legislature to allocate that money however they saw fit. Organizers with Environment Texas are strong proponents of it and the prop passed by more than 80 percent.
Texas Proposition 6: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 6 allows for the increase of bonds allocated to the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas from $3 billion to $6 billion total, with a max of $300 million per year.
Texas Proposition 7: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 7 pertains to the Permanent School Fund, created in 1854, which invests revenue from state-owned lands, such as leasing mineral rights to oil and gas companies. That fund disperses money to the Available School Fund, which allows the state to spend it on a yearly basis, sending it to districts across the state. The maximum amount that can be transferred in a year is currently $300 million. Now that this prop has passed, the maximum amount will be raised to $600 million a year.
Texas Proposition 8: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 8 creates a constitutional amendment to create a flood infrastructure fund, which would provide financing for flood drainage, mitigation, and control projects. It was unanimously approved in the state legislature, and comes with an accompanying bill, SB 7. It will govern the rules for how such a fund would be dispersed.
Texas Proposition 9: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 9 allows the legislature to exempt precious metals held in precious metal depositories from property taxation. It also enacts an accompanying House bill that would govern the definition of such metals. The facilities that store them often charge a fee for the storage of these precious metals.
Texas Proposition 10: PASSED
Ballot Language: “The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.”
What it Means: Texas Proposition 10 deals with the retirement of service animals, such as dogs or horses. Previously, when they are removed from service, such animals are classified as salvage or surplus property, which means they can be auctioned, donated, or destroyed. Now the designation of these animals will change and allow the animal to be transferred to its handler or another individual, if such a transfer is in the animal’s best interest. More than 90 percent of Texas voters were in favor of this proposition.