VOTE TODAY. There are seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot. Summary information on all seven propositions is provided here.
Texas Constitutional Amendments Proposed
for November 2015 Ballot
Proposition 1 Increasing the homestead property tax exemption
Proposition 2 Property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of certain disabled veterans
Proposition 3 Repealing requirement that statewide elected officials live in Austin
Proposition 4 Allowing professional sports team foundations to conduct charitable raffles
Proposition 5 Raising population cap for counties that may build private roads
Proposition 6 Establishing right to hunt, fish, harvest wildlife
Proposition 7 Dedicating a portion of sales tax revenue to the state highway fund
Proposition 1 – Increasing the homestead property tax exemption: SJR 1 by Senator Jane Nelson (R-Denton), and Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Galveston). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption,and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.”
Proposition 1 Supporters say: By increasing the homestead exemption, Proposition 1 would provide broad-based, crucial tax relief to Texans and drive economic growth.
Proposition 1 Opponents say: 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.
Proposition 2 – Property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of certain disabled veterans: HJR 75 by Representative Dennis Bonnen (R-Galveston) and Senator Larry Taylor (R-Friendswood). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran who died before the law authorizing a residence homestead exemption for such a veteran took effect.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: 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.
Proposition 3 – Repealing requirement that statewide elected officials live in Austin: SJR 52 by Senator Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels) and Representative John Otto (R-Dayton). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: 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.
Proposition 4 – Allowing professional sports team foundations to conduct charitable raffles: HJR 73 by Representative Charlie Geren (R-Fort Worth) and Senator Troy Fraser (R-Horseshoe Bay). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: 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.
Proposition 5 – Raising population cap for counties that may build private roads: SJR 17 by Senator Charles Perry (R-Lubbock) and Representative Drew Springer (R-Muenster). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: 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 – Establishing right to hunt, fish, harvest wildlife: SJR 22 by Senator Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) and Representative Trent Ashby (R-Lufkin). The ballot proposal reads: “The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: Proposition 6 is unnecessary because there is no immediate threat to hunting and fishing in Texas.
Proposition 7 – Dedicating a portion of sales tax revenue to the state highway fund: SJR 5 by Senator Robert Nichols (R-Jacksonville) and Representative Joe Pickett (D-El Paso). The ballot proposal reads: “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.”
Supporters say: 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.
Opponents say: 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. This means that tight fiscal times could trigger larger cuts in other critical state services, such as public education and health and human services. If the Legislature wishes to spend a portion of sales tax revenue on transportation, it can make this determination each session during the budgeting process without a constitutional amendment.
For more detailed information on these propositions, please see here http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/pdf/focus/amend84.pdf.
Where to Vote: http://www.votetexas.gov/voting/where