TEXAS – There is a lot on the ballot for the November 5 election. Here is a breakdown of the state propositions. It includes, the ballot language, what each proposition means, and what a “for” or “against” vote signifies.
Texas Proposition 1
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 allow individuals to serve in more than one municipality as elected or appointed officials. While they are already allowed to serve in multiple municipalities as appointed officials when beneficial to the state, 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.
- A “for” vote supports the amendment and allows for people to serve in multiple positions
- An “against” vote opposes the amendment.
Texas Proposition 2
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 would 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. Currently, these bonds are issued in increments of $250 million, but require a vote to be dispersed.
- A “for” vote allows the board to continue issuing bonds up to $200 million without a vote.
- An “against” vote would discontinue bond funding for the TWDB’s economically distressed areas program.
Texas Proposition 3
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 would allow the state legislature to provide tax exemptions for neighborhoods declared disaster areas by the governor. Should it pass, there is an accompanying bill that would govern the rules for how this exemption would work, when and how to declare the exemptions, and the exemption rates.
- A “for” vote allows political subdivisions to provide temporary tax exemptions in these areas.
- An “against” vote disallows these exemptions, in favor of reappraisals of these properties after the disaster.
Texas Proposition 4
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. The Texas State Constitution requires the state to put the idea of a personal income tax to a vote, which could be passed with a simple majority of more than 50 percent of that vote. Prop 4 would place a ban on ever enacting an income tax on individuals, thus requiring a constitutional amendment (and a two-thirds majority vote) to overturn.
- A “for” vote means that we are effectively closing the door on the personal income tax vote in the future.
- An “against” vote says that we will continue to ask the residents of the state in future elections whether or not they’d support such a tax.
Texas Proposition 5
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 would dedicate 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 current law allows the legislature to allocate that money however they see fit.
- A “for” vote means that the 6.25 percent tax revenue from sporting goods sales would go directly to protecting Texas’s natural areas, water quality, and historic sites.
- An “against” vote would allow the legislature to disperse that money as they see fit.
Texas Proposition 6
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 would allow 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.
- A “for” vote would increase the ceiling to $6 billion.
- An “against” vote would cap the amount of the bonds at $3 billion.
Texas Proposition 7
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.
- A “for” vote would increase the amount of money that could be transferred to $600 million a year.
- An “against” vote would keep the $300 million cap on the available school fund, annually.
Texas Proposition 8
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 would create 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 would govern the rules for how such a fund would be dispersed.
- A “for” vote would allow for the creation of the amendment
- An “against” vote would oppose the amendment.
Texas Proposition 9
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 would allow the legislature to exempt precious metals held in precious metal depositories from property taxation. It would also enact 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.
- A “for” vote would allow that bill to take hold and for those taxes to no longer be collected.
- An “against” vote continues to permit the taxation of such precious metals.
Texas Proposition 10
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. Currently, when they are removed from service, such animals are classified as salvage or surplus property, which means they can be auctioned, donated, or destroyed.
- A “for” vote would change that designation and allow the animal to be transferred to its handler or another individual, if such a transfer is in the animal’s best interest.
- An “against” vote opposes this amendment, and allows the animals to continue to be designated as salvage.