Last week I talked about the 10 Constitutional Amendments that will be on the Nov. 6 ballot. We covered the first four and will pick up with the fifth through 10th. If you missed part one, it can be found online in the Aug. 16 edition of The Seguin Gazette.
Proposition 5, Senate Joint Resolution 24
Constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from existing sales tax imposed on sporting goods to be directed in full to Texas Parks and Wildlife and the Texas Historical Commission to protect natural areas, water quality and history while not increasing the rate of state sales tax.
Supporters say: State parks receive 9.7 million visitors in 2017, the state parks are chronically underfunded, and this amendment would provide resources to maintain staff and maintenance of the parks for a growing population
Opponents say: The Legislature should be able to determine the amount of taxes appropriated to parks and retain the ability to balance the budget or respond to an emergency.
Proposition 6, House
Joint Resolution 12
Constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to increase by $3 billion, the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
Supporters say: Increasing the amount of bond funding is essential to ensuring the institute maintains its status as a national leader in research and prevention. A sustainable and predictable level of funding is essential for the Institute to effectively plan for the future.
Opponents say: Doubling the original commitment of tax payer money unduly increases state debt. Although cancer research is honorable and necessary, funding such research is not necessarily a state function.
Proposition 7, House
Joint Resolution 151
Constitutional amendment allowing an increase of fund distributions from the Permanent School Fund (PSF) to the Available School Fund (ASF).
Supporters say: doubling the current $300 million cap from the PSF to the ASF would improve funding for public schools.
Opponents say: if the funds are transferred from the PSF to the ASF, it will reduce the money available in the investment portfolio of the PSF.
Proposition 8, House
Joint Resolution 4
Constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Flood Infrastructure Fund to assist financing drainage, flood mitigation and flood control projects.
Supporters say: Funding for flood control is necessary to ensure the state is able to prepare for and recover from natural disasters. Creating the fund outside the general revenue fund will protect the fund from being redirected to other projects.
Opponents say: Federal funding and other funding sources are sufficient without creating another special fund. Proposed funding from the state’s Rainy Day Fund should not be used except for one time expenses.
Proposition 9, House
Joint Resolution 95
Constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to exempt from Ad Valorem taxation precious metals held in a depository located within the state.
Supporters say: Precious metals held in a depository are considered personal property under tax code, personal property not income producing is exempt from property tax but local entities can opt out to bypass the exemption and tax the metals. Taxing precious metals would put the owners at a competitive disadvantage as other states do not tax precious metals.
Opponents say: A business could escape taxes by storing precious metals in a depository.
Proposition 10, Senate
Joint Resolution 37
Constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of law enforcement animals to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.
Supporters Say: Law enforcement agencies would like to transfer retired animals to their handlers care free of charge. Law enforcement animals usually live with their handlers and should remain with their handlers in retirement.
There was no opposition to the proposition.
Hope this takes a little of the confusion out of these 10 propositions. For much more on these propositions, search for “Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments, 86th Regular Session” published by the Texas Legislative Council.
Terry Harper is a longtime Guadalupe County resident and lifelong conservative.