11 proposed constitutional amendments on the Nov. 3 ballot

Discussion in 'Politics' started by MadMo44Mag, Oct 19, 2009.

  1. MadMo44Mag

    MadMo44Mag TGT Addict

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    Did not see where these were posted and felt we all need to be aware of these possible changes.

    http://www.star-telegram.com/localelections/story/1653806.html

    Texans have added more than 400 amendments to the Texas Constitution since its adoption in 1876.
    On Nov. 3, voters will be asked to add 11 more, a broad-ranging mix that includes strengthened protections for property owners, changes in the state's tax appraisal system and a proposed fund to create more flagship universities, including three in North Texas.
    Here's a look at each amendment, arguments for or against it, and the exact wording that you'll see on the ballot.
    Proposition One
    Authorizes city and county financing to buy buffer areas near military installations.
    Arguments for: Would help control residential encroachment or make improvements around the sites. Would also resolve questions over whether cities and counties have the constitutional power to issue bonds and notes to create the buffer zones.
    Arguments against: Could subject property owners to further property tax increases.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the financing, including through tax increment financing, of the acquisition by municipalities and counties of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation."
    Proposition Two
    Requires appraisal of primary residences based solely on their homestead value.
    Arguments for: The Texas Constitution requires property to be taxed on its value, but appraisals are often based on the "highest and best use," such as the property’s potential as a commercial development. The proposed amendment would require that the appraisal of a home be pegged strictly on its value as a residence.
    Arguments against: The "highest and best use" standard is a legitimate tool for appraising property. Excluding it would prevent appraisers from taking an accurate picture of property values, reducing property tax revenue for cities, counties and school districts.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the ad valorem taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property’s value as a residence homestead."
    Proposition Three
    Would relax a constitutional restriction to enable the state to develop uniform property standards and procedures.
    Arguments for: Would enable property in one county to be appraised the same way as similar property in another county, removing inequities that currently exist across the state.
    Arguments against: Would take control out of the hands of local appraisal authorities, who are better positioned than state officials to determine local appraisals.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment providing for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valor tax purposes."
    Proposition Four
    Would create a dedicated source of funding to help Texas create more top-tier research universities. The National Research University Fund would be created by transferring the balance – in excess of $500 million – from a dormant education fund that the Legislature created in 1995. Tier one universities are defined as those that, among other things, commit more than $100 million to research each year and have a high level of doctoral programs.


    Seven emerging universities would compete for funding by meeting certain criteria: The University of Texas at Arlington, North Texas University at Denton, the University of Texas at Dallas, Texas Tech University at Lubbock, the University of Texas at El Paso, the University of Texas at San Antonio and the University of Houston.
    Arguments for: With only three tier one universities – the University of Texas at Austin, Texas A&M at College Station and privately-financed Rice University at Houston – Texas trails states such as California, with nine tier one schools, and New York, which has seven. More than 10,000 high school graduates leave Texas each year to attend top-flight universities in other states.
    Arguments against: The state should use its limited resources to boost only the most advanced schools to tier one status rather than spreading the money across seven candidates. Some sections of the state – including the Rio Grande Valley – are not represented among the seven schools for tier one status.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment establishing the national research university fund to enable emerging research universities in this state to achieve national prominence as major research universities and transferring the balance of the higher education fund to the national research university fund."
    Proposition Five
    Would allow the consolidation of tax review boards – also known as boards of equalization – that hear appeals over property appraisals that determine how much property owners pay in taxes.
    Arguments for: The state constitution presently requires a single review board for each tax appraisal entity. The amendment would allow adjoining counties – particularly those that are sparsely populated – to form a consolidated board, leading to greater efficiency and more professional appraisals.
    Arguments against: Each county should retain its own review board to retain local control and better assess property values.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations."
    Proposition Six
    Would renew the Veterans Land Board's bonding authority to continue financing land mortgage for Texas veterans at lower-than-market rates.
    Arguments for: More than 120,000 veterans have received loans to buy land or homes since the six-decade-old program was created shortly after World War II, but some of the bonding authority that supports the program is expected to expire at the end of this year. The program should be continued without further interruption to reward Texas veterans for their service.
    Arguments against: The amendment would expand state debt by authorizing more state-backed bonds.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the Veterans Land Board to issue general obligation bonds in amounts equal to or less than amounts previously authorized."
    Proposition Seven
    Would allow the 1,800 members of the Texas State Guard to hold other civil offices, now currently prohibited by the constitution.
    Arguments for: The State Guard – which, along with the Texas National Guard and the Air Guard National Guard, is part of the state's military forces – is an all-volunteer reserve force that provides a number of community services, such as security and crowd control. The amendment would correct an omission in earlier constitutional amendments that allow other National Guard members and reservists to hold other civil offices.
    Arguments against: Adds to the clutter in already much-amended state constitution and should be handled by statute rather than a constitutional amendment.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment to allow an officer or enlisted member of the Texas State Guard or other state militia or military force to hold other civil offices."
    Proposition Eight
    Would allow the state to contribute money, property and other resources to federal initiatives to build more veterans hospitals in the state.
    Arguments for: Would remove constitutional questions and help expand needed medical services for the 1.7 million veterans in Texas, including many from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    Arguments against: Is unnecessary because it duplicates existing legislation.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the state to contribute money, property, and other resources for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of veterans' hospitals in this state."
    Proposition Nine
    Would strengthen the protections of 1959 Texas Open Beaches Act, which gives the public free and unrestricted access to state-owned, public beaches.
    Arguments for: Would give added force to the 1959 law by enshrining it in the state constitution.
    Arguments against: Could encroach on the rights of private property owners. One concern focuses on the definition of a state beach, which extends from the water to the line of vegetation. If erosion or a storm shifts the line of vegetation, private property can wind up as part of a public beach, say critics.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment to protect the right of the public, individually and collectively, to access and use the public beaches bordering the seaward shore of the Gulf of Mexico."
    Proposition Ten
    Would increase the terms of emergency service district board members from two to four years.
    Arguments for: Would create more stability on the boards of emergency service districts, which are established by local voters to provide ambulance service, rural fire prevention, medical services and other protections.
    Arguments against: Extended the terms would make the elected board members less accountable to the public.
    How it appears on the ballot:
    "The constitutional amendment to provide that elected members of the governing boards of emergency services districts may serve terms not to exceed four years."
    Proposition 11
    Eminent domain authority empowers governments to take private property for public use and requires them to give "just compensation" for the property. The property taken under eminent domain has traditionally been for public works projects, such as road or utility construction. But Texas and other states have moved to tighten eminent domain restrictions after the Supreme Court, in its controversial "Kelo v. City of New London" decision in 2005, permitted the use of eminent domain for private economic development.
    Would restrict the taking the property to the state, local governments and entities given eminent domain authority under the law. Would designate that the property taken would be for a public or government use or for the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property. Property could not be taken for economic development or for enhancing tax revenue. A two-thirds vote in both chambers would be required for the Legislature to grant an entity eminent domain authority in the future.
    Arguments for: Would provide constitutional safeguards against possible abuses of eminent domain powers. Would prevent cities from blanket condemnations of large areas deemed as blighted, instead requiring them to make a parcel-by-parcel declaration of urban blight. Substitutes the current broad language in the state constitution with a more precise definition of what constitutes public use.
    Arguments against: Leaves the door open to a likely court test on what constitutes public property. If a city condemned public land for an airport, for instance, would the public use restriction be so rigid that the airport couldn't lease property to private vendors? Locking eminent domain restrictions into the Constitution, which requires a vote of the electorate to amend, would make future problems harder overcome if there are unintended consequences.
    How it appears on the ballot::
    "The constitutional amendment to prohibit the taking, damaging, or destroying of private property for public use unless the action is for the ownership, use, and enjoyment of the property by the State, a political subdivision of the State, the public at large, or entities granted the power of eminent domain under law or for the elimination of urban blight on a particular parcel of property, but not for certain economic development or enhancement of tax revenue purposes, and to limit the legislature's authority to grant the power of eminent domain to an entity."



    Sources: House Research Organization, Texas Legislative Council
     


  2. DCortez

    DCortez TGT Addict

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    Good find
     
  3. navyguy

    navyguy TGT Addict

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    I think I've got those figured out except for #3. Don't know if that is good or bad, and what areas gain and which could be adversely effected. Anyone have any insight?
     
  4. TxEMTP69

    TxEMTP69 TGT Addict TGT Supporter

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    good info fo sure
     
  5. DCortez

    DCortez TGT Addict

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    I don't. On the surface, I'd prefer a uniform way of appraising and taking the power away from local yokels.
     
  6. usmcpmi

    usmcpmi Active Member

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    #3 sounds like some counties don't want developers to be able to build just outside their county line, avoiding their higher taxes, but still attract the same customers... sounds like a money grab....ie: Travis county/Bastrop county, next to eachother, but Bastrops' taxes are lower... MG
     
  7. res1b3uq

    res1b3uq Active Member

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    thanks for posting this, madmo, I figured I was going to have to hunt them up on the internet.
     
  8. DCortez

    DCortez TGT Addict

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    Or Mexico & the US
     
  9. MadMo44Mag

    MadMo44Mag TGT Addict

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    I'm still digesting this info.
    I had caught bits and pieces in the news and went looking and found this.
     
  10. TSU45

    TSU45 Active Member

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    I can definitely get behind #2, as long as it is being used as they primary residence.
     

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