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State constitutional amendments on Nov. 3 ballot

 - Updated political calendar online

Texas voters will decide on seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution this November, one of which could have an effect on their pocketbooks.  None of the amendments is controversial, so stations should not expect major advertising “for or against” ballot measure campaigns.

But the political races that could have an impact on stations are lining up clearly and TAB has updated for members only its online political calendar listing election dates, windows and offices up for election.

Texas Secretary of State Carlos Cascos has chosen the places for the seven propositions in a random drawing to assign their order on the Nov. 3 ballot.  The propositions cover a gamut of state issues, from the serious to the mundane.

Proposition 1, the homestead exemption increase for school property taxes, is perhaps the best known of the seven. The Senate and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick pushed property tax reform as a major issue in the 84th Legislature. Proposition 1 increases the current exemption amount by $10,000, from $15,000 to $25,000.

Another weighty issue is Proposition 7 which would boost the Texas Department of Transportation’s budget for roads by allowing a portion of revenues from the state sales tax, auto rental tax and the motor vehicle tax to be funneled to the State Highway Fund. The move would dedicate about $2.5 billion of sales tax revenue to the fund at the start of 2017.

The propositions (in the order they are listed on the Nov. 3 ballot), as well as their enabling legislation and bill authors are:

Proposition 1
(SJR 1 by Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Flower Mound)

"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."

Effect:  Increases the mandatory homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. The taxable value of homesteads owned by the elderly or people who are disabled also would be correspondingly reduced.

Proposition 2
(HJR 75 by Rep. Dennis Bonnen, R-Angleton)

“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.”

Effect:   Extends the current homestead property tax exemption that applies to the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran to the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran who died before Jan. 1, 2010.   A surviving spouse who otherwise qualified would be entitled to an exemption of the same portion of the market value of the same property to which the disabled veteran’s exemption would have applied.

Proposition 3
(SJR 52 by Sen. Donna Campbell, R-San Antonio)

“The constitutional amendment repealing the requirement that state officers elected by voters statewide reside in the state capital.”

Effect:  Removes the requirement that the Comptroller, Land Commissioner, Attorney General and any statutory state officer elected statewide reside in Austin during their terms of office.

Proposition 4
(HJR 73 by Rep. Charlie Geren, R-Ft. Worth)

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct charitable raffles.”

Effect:  Allows a professional sports team’s charitable foundation to conduct charitable raffles.  Such foundations may pay “reasonable” advertising, promotional and administrative expenses with the raffle proceeds.

Proposition 5
(SJR 17 by Sen. Charles Perry, R-Lubbock)

“The constitutional amendment to authorize counties with a population of 7,500 or less to perform private road construction and maintenance.”

Effect:  Increases from 5,000 to 7,500 the maximum population limit for a county to be able to construct and maintain private roads.  Counties must impose a “reasonable” charge for the work.

Proposition 6
(SJR 22 by Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe)

“The constitutional amendment recognizing the right of the people to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife subject to laws that promote wildlife conservation.”

Effect:  Establishes the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife under the Texas Bill of Rights.  Provides that hunting and fishing are the preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife in Texas.

Proposition 7
(SJR 5 by Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville)

“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.

Effect:  A portion of the sales, use and rental tax charged when buying, using or renting a motor vehicle in Texas will go to the State Highway Fund (SHF).

Questions?  Contact TAB's Michael Schneider or call (512) 322-9944.

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