Election Day is tomorrow, and for those of us who haven’t been able to make it to the polls early, here’s what’s on the ballot.
First, Texans can vote at any polling place in their county of residence. To make sure you’re registered to vote and search for places in your area, check out the state voter portal. You’ll just need your driver’s license number and birthday, or name, county and date of birth.
At the polling location, voters are allowed to bring written materials or notes, but are not allowed to promote any candidate, political party or ballot item at or near the polling place.
Fourteen amendments to the Texas Constitution are on the table:
- Proposition 1 is “the constitutional amendment protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”
This amendment will require state and local governments to provide evidence that farming, hunting and other regulations are needed to protect the public from danger, affectively raising the bar for the requirements to regulate these practices.
- Proposition 2 is “the constitutional amendment authorizing a local option exemption from ad valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child care facility.”
The amendment will allow cities and counties to exempt child care providers from paying property taxes on facilities used to run child care businesses.
- Proposition 3 is “the constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”
This amendment would require lawmakers to ask voters for authorization before imposing a “wealth tax,” or a tax on a person based on the market value of assets they own, according to Karen Brooke Harper in the Texas Tribune.
- Proposition 4 is “the constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts.”
This amendment will determine the fate of a $12.7 billion package of property tax cuts through funding school districts to lower school district taxes, a temporary limit on appraisals for many properties and other tax reforms.
- Proposition 5 is “the constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”
This proposition will take funds from Texas’ revenue surplus to support research at state universities.
- Proposition 6 is “the constitutional amendment creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this state.”
The amendment would create a new special fund in the state treasury to support projects like repairing many of Texas’ aging pipes.
- Proposition 7 is “the constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”
The amendment would create a state fund to distribute loans and grants to companies building new natural gas-fueled power plants.
- Proposition 8 is “the constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”
This amendment would support the creation of a fund to support broadband infrastructure expansion.
- Proposition 9 is “the constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”
This amendment would allow lawmakers to use $3.3 billion from the general revenue fund to provide some retired Texas teachers with a cost-of-living raise in their monthly pension checks.
- Proposition 10 is “the constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas health care network and strengthen our medical supply chain.”
According to Harper, “School districts, cities and counties are currently allowed to collect property taxes on the value of equipment and inventory that are held by the manufacturers of medical or biomedical products, such as pharmaceuticals, personal protective equipment stocks, and medical devices. This amendment would exempt those from a facility’s overall property values, leading to a potential decrease in their taxes.”
- Proposition 11 is “the constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”
This amendment would add El Paso County to the list of counties that are allowed to issue bonds supported by property taxes to fund recreational development and improvement.
- Proposition 12 is “the constitutional amendment providing for the abolition of the office of county treasurer in Galveston County.”
The Commissioner’s Court of Galveston County would be allowed to employ or contract an existing county official or other qualified person to oversee county investments, maintain records of deposits and withdrawals and ensuring the safety of county funds.
- Proposition 13 is “the constitutional amendment to increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges.”
This amendment would increase the minimum retirement age of state judges from 70 to 75 and raise the mandatory retirement age from 75 to 79.
- Proposition 14 is “the constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”
This amendment would create a fund that would go into buying more land for the state parks system.
Collin County also has several propositions on the ballot for the bond election.
- Proposition A supports “the issuance of $261,864,179 bonds for designing, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, expanding, and equipping court facilities and juvenile and adult detention facilities, and the levy of a tax in payment thereof.”
This proposition supports the creation of bonds for juvenile and adult detention facilities.
- Proposition B supports “the issuance of $5,700,000 bonds for designing, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, expanding, and equipping the existing Collin County Animal Shelter, and the levy of a tax in payment thereof.”
This proposition supports bonds toward Collin County animal shelter.
- Proposition C supports “the issuance of $13,360,685 bonds for designing, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, expanding, and equipping Collin County Medical Examiner’s office facilities, and the levy of a tax in payment thereof.”
This proposition supports bonds toward Collin County Medical Examiner’s office facilities.
- Proposition D supports “the issuance of $22,450,000 bonds for acquiring, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, and equipping land for park and open space purposes, including participation in joint county-city projects, and the levy of a tax in payment thereof.”
This proposition supports bonds for parks and open spaces.
- Proposition E supports “the issuance of $380,000,000 bonds for designing, developing, constructing, renovating, improving, extending, expanding, and maintaining roads and bridges within the county, and the levy of a tax in payment thereof.”
This proposition supports bonds toward maintaining roads and bridges within the community.
Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 7.