Tuesday, October 20, 2009

For all my Texas pals....

Received this e-mail thought would share with you.....

Dear Friends:

The Texas Legislature has proposed eleven constitutional amendments for your review. Below is a Constitutional Amendment Voter’s Guide to help explain the issues.

The propositions you will be voting on will help bring our state more high paying jobs, bring innovative research to Texas by creating more Tier One Universities and protect our Texas military bases by ensuring they have the space and resources needed to function. Your vote will also help our Veterans returning home from service, speed up and ensure the fairness of property tax appraisals and take a giant step in protecting Texans property rights.

There have been several misrepresentations regarding amendments #2, # 3 and #5 . I want to clarify that none of these proposals would allow or create a state property tax. I do not support a state property tax and the Texas Constitution still prohibits one.

Please mark your calendar to vote in the upcoming Constitutional Amendment Election on Tuesday, November 3rd. Early voting begins Monday, October 19 and ends on Friday, October 30th.

Voting locations for Tarrant County, Denton County and Dallas County can be found at these links.

As always, if you need additional information on any matter, or would like a further explanation of any of these constitutional amendments, please contact my office.

Sincerely Yours,




Constitutional Amendment Voter’s Guide



Proposition 1: "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."

What this actually means: The Military bases in Texas are vital economic engines for the state. This amendment takes care of a growing need in Texas by providing cities and counties clear authorization to use bonds or notes to buy land for creating buffer areas around military installations. If this amendment passes, it will ensure the economic security and growth of many local communities and the state.

Proposition 2: "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."

What this actually means: Appraisal districts across the state have adopted the " highest and best" use methodology to value a persons residence at a higher rate upon the assumption that it would be worth more if converted to commercial property. If this amendment passes - appraisal districts would have to value your residence as a residence and not what the highest and best use would be. This would only apply to a residential homestead and not to a second home or investment property.

Proposition 3: "The constitutional amendment providing for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes."

What this actually means: Today - appraisal practices and procedures vary from county to county in Texas. This amendment would require that property is appraised by uniform standards across the state regardless of where the property is located in the state.

Proposition 4: "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."

What this actually means: Tier One universities create a highly developed, highly educated workforce which is responsible for driving the economic engine behind Texas' success. It is extremely important especially for the DFW area that we get behind this initiative to create more Tier One universities in Texas. These institutions higher paying jobs, innovative research development, and a diverse array of business opportunities.

Proposition 5: "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."

What this actually means: This amendment will simply allow the voluntary consolidation of appraisal review board functions between adjourning counties. The appraisal review process would benefit from the consolidation of appraisal review boards in rural counties that currently have a small amount of qualified board members and would lead to more efficiency in the process.

Proposition 6: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the Veterans' Land Board to issue general obligation bonds in amounts equal to or less than amounts previously authorized."

What this actually means: This will give the Veteran's Land Board the bonding authority needed to continue the functions of the Veteran's Housing Assistance Program and the Veteran's Land Program which help Veteran's acquire land and get mortgage loans.

Proposition 7: "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."

What this actually means: This would allow a member of the Texas State Guard and other Texas military forces to be able to hold civil offices such as Justice of the Peace or a similar office.

Proposition 8: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the state to contribute money, property, and other resources for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of veteran's hospitals in this state."

What this actually means: This amendment will clarify that the state can contribute money, time and property for the creation of a new veteran's hospital in Texas. Specifically this measure is in response to House Bill 2217 which required the Texas Veteran's Commission and the Department of State Health Services to collaborate with the US Department of Veteran's Affairs to establish a new Veteran's Hospital in the Rio Grande Valley as the veteran's in that region currently have to travel to San Antonio for treatment.

Proposition 9: "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."

What this actually means: This will strengthen the constitutional protection that Texas beaches belong to Texans. This amendment will provide that Texas beaches are accessible to the public for generations to come regardless of whether or not erosion or storms change the landscape of our beaches.

Proposition 10: "The constitutional amendment to provide that elected members of the governing boards of emergency services districts may serve terms not to exceed four years."

What this actually means: This proposal would lengthen the term from 2 -4 years which will allow emergency services district board members sufficient time to gain the necessary experience for this job.

Proposition 11: "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."

What this actually means: This is an important amendment for Texans this year. This amendment strengthens private property rights in Texas. This proposal would establish clear distinctions on when private property may be taken for "public use". While some entities may still be able to condemn land, this language would clarify that "public use" does not include a taking which the main goal would be economic development project or increasing tax revenues.


I supported these amendments in the Texas Senate and I would encourage you to learn about these amendments in greater detail at the Texas Legislative Council and vote on November 3.




Please feel free to contact my office:

In Arlington at, 2001 East Lamar Blvd., Suite 150. Arlington, TX 76006 (817) 461-9109

In Lewisville at, 522 South Edmonds., Suite 220, Lewisville, TX 75067, (972) 436-1001

In Austin at, P.O. Box 12068, Capitol Bldg Room 3s.5 Austin, TX 78711 (512) 463-0109

2 comments:

Tanna (The Brick Street Bungalow) said...

Great job on voter education! I have been reading up on the propositions, too. Get out the vote!

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