As a result of the 84th Legislative Session, there will be many propositions on the ballot this November that we want to provide information on. These propositions may or may not directly affect you but please take time to read up on each of the seven propositions. A link to a very informative and detailed description of each proposition can be found at:
Texas Constitution, Art. 8, sec. 1-b(c) requires a school district to exempt from taxation $15,000 of the value of a residence homestead. Under this provision, as implemented by Tax Code, sec. 11.13(c), a school district must grant an additional $10,000 exemption from the appraised value of a residence homestead for adults who are disabled or at least 65 years old.
By increasing the homestead exemption, Proposition 1 would provide broad-based, crucial tax relief to Texans and drive economic growth.
Increasing the homestead exemption as proposed in Proposition 1 would not have a significant impact on the average Texan, and the state would lose the opportunity to make better investments in areas with critical needs, such as public or higher education.
Art. 8, sec. 1-b(i) of the Texas Constitution authorizes the Legislature to exempt from property taxes all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of 100 percent or totally disabled veterans.
Proposition 2 would allow the Legislature to provide valuable tax relief to the families of deceased disabled veterans. Any fiscal impact on a single taxing district would be minimal, but the impact on individual families of totally disabled military veterans would be considerable.
Proposition 2 would reduce the revenue available to school districts, municipalities, counties, and other special taxing districts, such as hospital districts, and impose corresponding costs on the state.
Texas Constitution, Art. 4, sec. 23 requires the comptroller of public accounts, commissioner of the General Land Office, attorney general, and any statutory state officer who is elected statewide to reside at the state capital during their terms of office.
Proposition 3 would remove a constitutional requirement that is no longer necessary. Requiring elected state officers to reside in the capital made sense when the Constitution was adopted because traveling to Austin in 1876 might have taken many days for a state official who lived elsewhere. The requirement is no longer necessary due to advances in transportation and technology that allow officials to travel to Austin easily or manage their duties while living in another part of the state.
Proposition 3 would change a provision in the Constitution that has served Texans well for 140 years. Statewide elected officials should carry out their duties in the seat of Texas government. Those elected to guide large agencies such as the comptroller’s office, the land office, or the attorney general’s office were elected to a full-time job and should be present at their respective agency headquarters in Austin on a daily basis. These officials know of the constitutional requirement to reside in the seat of Texas government when they decide to seek the office.
Texas Constitution, Art. 3, sec. 47 requires the Legislature to enact laws prohibiting lotteries and gift enterprises. There are exceptions to this requirement for the state lottery, charitable bingo, and charitable raffles.
Proposition 4 would provide Texas’ professional sports teams with another tool to raise funds to support their charitable causes. While current law allows raffles for charitable purposes, restrictions in the Constitution and in the Occupations Code prevent charitable foundations of sports teams from making full use of a popular type of raffle to raise money for their youth sports, education, and community programs.
Proposition 4 could expand gambling in Texas by increasing the number of charitable raffles that certain groups can conduct and by allowing the groups to offer cash prizes. The changes proposed in the amendment and its enabling legislation would alter the rules designed to keep raffles to occasional games that award non-cash prizes and that funnel all proceeds to charity. These changes could open the door to other groups asking for expanded authority to offer such raffles.
Texas Constitution, Art. 3, sec. 52f allows a county with a population of 5,000 or less, according to the most recent federal census, to build and maintain private roads if the county imposes a reasonable charge for the work.
Proposition 5 would update a provision of the Texas Constitution adopted in 1980 that governs the maximum population of a county allowed to build and maintain private roads. Small counties in Texas have grown since that time, and the Constitution should be updated to reflect population growth over the past 35 years.
Instead of increasing the maximum population threshold, the population limit for counties should be eliminated. All counties in the state should have the option to build and maintain their roads as long as private landowners agree and pay the county for the cost of the work.
Proposition 6 would amend the Bill of Rights (Art. 1, Texas Constitution) to establish the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in Texas.
Proposition 6 would constitutionally guarantee the right of Texans to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife. While Texas has a rich and vibrant hunting and fishing tradition, animal rights and anti-hunting organizations in other states have worked to limit hunting through onerous bag limits or by eliminating the hunting of certain types of game. To guard against such restrictions, many states already have passed right-to-hunt-and-fish amendments. Proposition 6 would ensure that Texas’ long-standing heritage of hunting and fishing was protected for future generations.
Proposition 6 is unnecessary because there is no immediate threat to hunting and fishing in Texas.
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 non-tolled roads and the reduction of certain transportation-related debt.”
Proposition 7 would provide a steady, consistent funding source for transportation projects across the state by dedicating a portion of two types of taxes to the state highway fund. Because the dedication could be temporarily reduced with a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate, the proposed amendment would accomplish these goals without unnecessarily tying the hands of the Legislature and compromising the state’s ability to fund critical state services.
Proposition 7 could tie the hands of the state in future years by constitutionally dedicating more than $5 billion to transportation projects each fiscal biennium. Because the state has many other constitutionally dedicated funds and mandated expenses, the Legislature has discretion over only about 17 percent of the state budget.