On the upcoming November General Election Ballot are 10 Propositions that few people know about or understand. I would like to take the next two or three weeks to explain what these amendments say, what they mean and what the supporters and opponents have to say. At the end of this series, I will try to show how the Republican Party and its platform stands on these issues.
These 10 Propositions began as either House or Senate joint resolutions and if passed in the November election will become amendments to the Texas Constitution.
Proposition 1 — House Joint Resolution 72 — would allow a person, elected or appointed to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.
Supporters say: Smaller municipalities lack individuals willing or qualified to serve as a municipal judge, the change would make it easier for small municipalities to fill those positions.
Opponents say: Allowing a municipal judge to hold more than one position would restrict the time and attention the judge could provide to each municipality.
Proposition 2 — Senate Joint Resolution 79 — would allow the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in the amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.
Supporters say: This is an essential program that needs additional funding to support projects for communities that could not otherwise afford secure access to safe water and adequate sewage treatment facilities.
Opponents say: the state should not constitutionally dedicate funds to specific programs believing that infrastructure improvements should come from the general revenue.
Proposition 3 — House Joint Resolution 34 — would authorize 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.
Supporters say: a temporary tax exemption as opposed to reappraisal for property damage as a result of disaster is a cheaper, quicker, simpler and a more easily administrative method of providing property tax relief to those suffering the aftereffects of a disaster.
Opponents say: introducing another property tax exemption could deprive local governments of adequate funding and that reappraisal is a sufficient mechanism to address disaster relief.
Proposition 4 — House Joint Resolution 38— would prohibit the imposition of an individual State Income Tax including a tax on individual’s shares of partnership and unincorporated association income.
NOTE: Texas does not currently have a state income tax, however, the state constitution authorizes the legislature to impose a tax on the incomes of natural persons if approved by the majority of voters and the tax is used for property tax reduction or to fund education.
Supporters say: many voters believe that the Texas Constitution prohibits a state income tax but the Constitution only imposes certain restrictions. This proposition if passed would clearly prohibit a state income tax. It is also believed that no Texas income tax is a major part of the business friendly climate that brings business and people to Texas and is an important part of economic success and any state income tax would hinder economic development, wage growth and prosperity.
Opponents say: blocking a state income tax would prohibit a future revenue option that could alleviate property taxes and help fund the education system.
Next week we will pick up with Propositions 5-10