I hope everyone has enjoyed the beginning of fall. Election season is upon us again. Election day will fall on Tuesday, November 5th of this year, and like all other elections, there will be many voting options. Early voting in-person will begin on October 21st and will run through November 1st. If you are able to vote by mail, you can apply for a mail in ballot until October 25th, and it must be received by November 5th.
Among local matters, potential state constitutional amendments will make up a large portion of the ballot. These amendments have already passed the Legislature during this 86th Legislative Session. Now they must be ratified by the voters of Texas for them to become law. Here are the propositions for you to vote on to amend the State's Constitution with the actual ballot language and a brief description of each:
Proposition 1 "The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time." - Allows a person to hold more than one office as an elected or appointed municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time.
Proposition 2 "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." - Authorizes the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds for the economically distressed areas program account. The board would be authorized to issue the bonds in amounts such that the aggregate principal amount of the bonds outstanding at any time issued under the added section would not exceed $200 million. The bonds would be used to provide financial assistance for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of the state.
Proposition 3 "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." - Allows for a temporary exemption from property taxation if the property is in a declared disaster area and is damaged by at least 15% or more.
Proposition 4 "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." - Texas currently does not levy an income tax on individuals. Proposition 4 would BAN the state from ever collecting a state income tax. To be clear, voting yes for Proposition 4 would mean you support the stronger ban of a Statewide income tax on individuals. It is important to note that if Proposition 4 does not pass in November, the state will not automatically begin collecting a state income tax.
Proposition 5 "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." - Automatically appropriates all state revenue attributable to state sales and use taxes imposed on sporting goods to the Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.
Proposition 6 "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." -Increases from $3 billion to $6 billion the maximum amount of general obligation bonds the legislature by general law may authorize the Texas Public Finance Authority to provide for, issue, and sell on behalf of the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Proposition 7 "The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund." - Increases from $300 million to $600 million the amount that the General Land Office or an entity, other than the State Board of Education, could in its sole discretion distribute to the Available School Fund each year in revenue derived during that year from the land or properties it manages.
Proposition 8 "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." - Creates the Flood Infrastructure Fund and authorizes the Texas Water Development Board to provide financing for drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.
Proposition 9 "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state." - Exempts precious metal held in a precious metal depository in the state, such as the Texas Bullion Depository, from ad valorem taxation by a political subdivision.
Proposition 10 "The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances." - Allows law enforcement animals, such as dogs or horses, to retire and live with their handler or another qualified caretaker if the transfer is in the animal's best interest.
I hope this has provided you with some good information to make an informed decision this upcoming election. Remember, mark your calendar to get out to vote this November 5th and make your voice heard.
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God Bless you, your family and the Great State of Texas!
State Representative HD-16