Voters to decide on multiple amendments to Texas Constitution

Election Guide 2015 RPHVoters will head to the polls Nov. 3 to decide whether to shift millions of dollars in funds to Texas roads, grant certain elected officials the ability to live outside of the state capital and increase the amount certain homeowners can save on property taxes.

They will cast a ballot on seven proposed constitutional amendments, which were crafted in joint resolutions by the House of Representatives and Senate during the previous legislative session. The resolutions required at least a two-thirds “yes” vote by the members of each chamber to be presented to voters and cannot be vetoed by the governor.

Proposition 1 would raise the value of the property tax homestead exemption for public schools from $15,000 to $25,000.

According to a report from the House Research Organization, a nonpartisan group that provides information on legislation to the Texas Legislature, supporters of the proposition say the increase would provide much-needed property tax relief to Texans and drive economic growth. However, opponents say they would rather see other tax-cut alternatives that would provide more equitable relief.

Proposition 2 seeks to change a constitutional amendment voters approved in 2011 that allowed the surviving spouses of 100 percent disabled veterans an exemption on property taxes, as long as the surviving spouse had not remarried. That amendment did not apply to surviving spouses of veterans who died before 2011.

Proposition 3 would repeal a constitutional requirement that stipulates statewide elected officials reside in Austin during their terms of office.

Proposition 4 would let legislators enact laws allowing professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles. Proposition 4 and its enabling legislation, HB 975, would allow 50/50 raffles at professional sports games in which 50 percent of ticket sales are awarded in cash prizes and the other half goes to charity.

Proposition 5 would increase the maximum population threshold of a county that is allowed to construct and maintain private roads from 5,000 to 7,500.

Proposition 6 would amend the Bill of Rights to establish the right to hunt, fish and harvest wildlife in Texas, including by the use of traditional methods.

Proposition 7 proposes a constitutional amendment that would dedicate $2.5 billion of the state’s sales and use tax revenue that exceeds the first $28 billion of taxes collected, and

35 percent of the state motor vehicle sales, use and rental tax revenue that exceeds the first $5 billion of taxes collected, to the State Highway Fund. These funds would be deposited in the General Revenue Fund, which can be used to construct, maintain or acquire rights of way for public roads other than toll roads or to repay transportation-related debts. These transfers would expire in 2032 and 2029, respectively, unless extended at that time.

According to the Legislative Budget Board, the proposition would bring in an estimated $5 billion in general revenue in fiscal year 2018, and $2.9 billion in fiscal year 2020.

Supporters say the proposition would provide a consistent source for funding transportation projects throughout the state. Opponents say it could tie the hands of legislators in future years by dedicating billions to transportation projects each fiscal biennium, which could cause larger cuts in other state services during tight fiscal times.

Election Guide 2015 RPH


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