Thoughts on amendment election propositions

The upcoming constitutional amendment election has been t he topic of many media stories in recent weeks. It has also been the focus of misinformation on the internet. Every election is important, but this one will mean a lot to the taxpayers and landowners in Texas. Early voting on the proposed amendments is Oct. 19 to 30. The regular election will be Nov. 3.

One of the internet articles that has been going around is aimed at misinforming the public about Proposition 2. Prop. 2 would provide for the property taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property's value as a residence homestead, regardless of whether the property may have a higher value if it were used for other purposes.

Prop. 2 will actually provide some protection for taxpayers. However, some emails are circulating around the Internet claiming that the taxpayer protections would result in a statewide property tax. This is not true.

The Texas Constitution Sec. 1-e. "Abolition of Ad Valorem Property Taxes" provides that no state ad valorem taxes shall be levied upon any property within this state.

Be sure to check out what you are told or what you might read for yourself. Do not be taken in by those that prefer we not know the truth about the intentions of these proposed amendments. Another amendment to study is Prop. 3.

Prop. 3 would amend the constitution to require the legislature to provide for the administration and enforcement of uniform property appraisal standards and procedures for property taxation. Some say that passage of this amendment opens the door further for state involvement in local property taxation, and are opposed to it for that reason.

While it is true that passage of Prop. 3 would open the door for more state involvement this proposed amendment would make sure that properties in different counties are appraised according to the same uniform statewide standards. It would allow appraisal standards to be enforced by direct action against appraisal districts. Since state funding to school districts is partially based on local property value, it's unfair to allow values to be determined differently in different counties.

Prop. 4 would amend the constitution to establish the National Research University Fund to provide a source of funding that will enable emerging research universities in this state to develop into major research universities. The amendment would require the commitment of state revenue to the fund.

While I do think this is a worthy idea, more tax dollars should not be used at this time to reach this goal. Research conducted in the private market is competent and efficient and does not involve the use of our tax dollars. The competition between research universities will also result in a compromised education due to the focus on research.

Prop. 11 is another very important vote for the landow ner. Proposition 11 would amend the constitution to provide that the taking of private property for public use, eminent domain, is authorized only if it is for the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property by the State, its political subdivisions, the public at large, or by entities granted the power of eminent domain, or for the removal of urban blight. The amendment would restrict the legislature's authority to grant the power of eminent domain in the future unless it is approved by a two-thirds vote of all the members elected to each house.

Prop. 11 adds real protection against eminent domain misuse by stating the lawful purposes for eminent domain in the Constitution. Passage of this amendment would also send a strong message from the voters that eminent domain must be used for very limited purposes, only when it is really needed. Passage of this proposal will make it more difficult for the Legislature to grant eminent domain power to additional entities.

Early voting is underway. Take time to research the propositions. Information on each of the propositions can be found on the Secretary of State's website. Educate yourself, make your decision and vote. It will make a difference.

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2009-10-22 digital edition

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