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Texas State Propositions on Nov 5th Ballot

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by JuanValdez, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I've always had a thing for these propositions on the ballot come election time. If you don't read ahead of time, you get this short summary on the ballot of what the amendment is supposed to do that offers no context or clear understanding. Like as not, you'll find out the next day you voted for something you think is a terrible idea.

    This year, we have 9:

    1. Texas Deceased Veteran's Residence Tax Exmeption for Surviving Spouse: Gives a full or partial exemption to real estate tax on a primary residence for the spouse of a soldier killed in action. They already do this for the spouse of a disabled veteran. It's transferable if they move, but is cancelled when they remarry. The financial impact is only $200k/year.

    I'll probably vote against. Losing your spouse is financially disruptive, but life insurance is probably a more appropriate remedy than favors on real estate taxes.

    2. Eliminate the State Medical Education Board and Fund: Back in 1952, we created these things to provide grants ans loans to medical students who agreed to serve is rural areas. The program never worked well, and has not had any money nor loaned any in 20 years. It's defunct.

    I'll vote for it. Seems like an administrative formality.

    3. Political Subdivision for Aircraft Tax Exemption: Apparently, Texas has an unusual practice of taxing some inventories, but we created a freeport exemption that allows some imports to skip the tax if they're shipped out of state within 175 days. This proposition would give political subdivisions the power to increase the exemption to 730 days for aircraft parts. This is apparently to help support the development of Houston's private-sector space industry.

    I'll probably vote for it. I don't know what the financial hit would be, but I do think my self-interest is probably more linked to the develop of the Houston aerospace industry.

    4. Disabled Veteran Residence Tax Exemption: Revisiting the theme from Prop 1, this gives partially disabled veterans (fully disabled vets are already taken care of) and their surviving spouses a tax exemption if the house was given to them by a charity. The thinking being it's no use accepting a free house if your disability check won't cover the taxes. The Austin Chronicle alleges that they want to facilitate giveaways to create corporate tax write-offs.

    I'm on the fence on this one. Like with Prop 1, I don't like handing out exemptions. On the other hand, disabled vets cost more to house than dead ones, and it is a little ridiculous to pay full-market tax on something you got for free. I'm leaning no, on the reasoning that a charity that wants to give away houses can also give away cash to pay the taxes.

    5. Reverse Mortgage Loan Amendment: Texas is the only state to not allow reverse mortgages, unless this prop passes. In a reverse mortgage, you stay in your home for the duration of the home, and you are paid by the bank for your equity. This is an arrangement for retirement-age people to get income from their home equity, but they'd have no house in the end to bequeath to heirs.

    I don't think I know enough about this one yet. My sneaking suspicion is that we'll get a spike in dirty mortgage brokers taking advantage of the elderly. On the flipside, apparently the AARP are big fans, so what do I know?

    6. State Water Fund Amendment: This is to take $2b out of the Rainy Day Fund to seed a State Water Implementation Fund that would help finance water conservation in face of our droughts. The Rainy Day Fund has income from a tax on oil and gas drilling, and that fund has been ballooning with our recent shale boom. We've already passed 2 bond amendments for water conservation that would give us access to $6b (if I remember right).

    I'll vote for it. But, I have to say I'm still mad about Perry not using the Rainy Day Fund when we had an actual rainy day -- the budget crunch following the recession. Water conservation is not a rainy day thing at all, so it seems like a misappropriation. Still, citizens likely won't approve separate funding and the Rainy Day Fund really will be growing strongly (maybe too much so) for the next few years if we don't do something to cut it back.

    7. Home Rule Charter Provision: Allows home-rule municipalities to arrange to fill vacancies in its governing body by appointment or other mechanism, instead of calling a special election, if the vacancy is for less than a year. This is meant to avoid the added expense of doing a special election plus a normal election in a short amount of time.

    I'll vote for. For small municipals, a special election is probably unduly burdensome.

    8. Repeal of Hidalgo County Hospital District: In 1960, we apparently passed an amendment to create a Hospital District especially in Hildalgo, but the tax maximum specified was too small to adequately support a hospital district. Meanwhile, hospital districts in the rest of the state operate under a different amendment that allows them to tax themselves adequately. Repeal would allow Hildalgo to fall under the general rule.

    I'll vote for it. Seems like a no-brainer.

    9. Expanded Judicial Sanctions: This apparently follows the 2010 case when Judge Sharon Keller closed her court before a deathrow inmate could file a last-minute reprieve. The State Commision on Judicial Conduct gave her a formal reprimand, per the state's legal code, but a special court threw it out on the grounds that the Constitution doesn't specify that the Commission could issue a reprimand. So this amendment would write that power to reprimand into the Constitution so there's no confusion.

    I'll vote for it. It is just administrative.

    Here's a good website for all the amendments, with useful links to articles, etc: http://ballotpedia.org/wiki/index.php/Texas_2013_ballot_measures
     
    3 people like this.
  2. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    I think the lack of responses to this thread speaks to how Texans will approach this election.

    You'll get 15% turnout in an election where the water plan amendment is absolutely critical to the future of the state. The number and the longevity of droughts in Texas necessitates a statewide water plan to ensure that communities have access to water at all times.

    Every Texan needs to vote yes on the water if they care about the state. The Republicans shouldve funded this with something from the general fund or through a tax hike but they couldn't even vote on the thing, much less vote to fund it through normal means. Texans shouldnt even be voting on this referendum, but Republicans in the legislature are cowards and punted this to the people via referendum.

    I encourage everyone to vote if only for the water amendment. Droughts are inevitable. We need to do something to help manage that risk.
     
  3. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Not sure why we need to spend another $2 billion on water infrastructure. Not sure what it would be spent on. Houston has access to large reservoirs in east Texas; Austin & San Antone have the greenbelt and Edwards Aquifer; Dallas...I don't care. So I do not know who this is going to affect. Probably will not vote on the prop.

    But do not worry, I planned on being in attendance at the polls but for the biggest Harris county prop: http://bbs.clutchfans.net/showthread.php?t=245282
     
  4. AXG

    AXG Member

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    Texas does allow reverse mortgages. The proposed Amendment would simply allow owners to sell and purchase another property in single transaction, thereby saving them lots of money on closing fees.
     
  5. Buck Turgidson

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    This x 1000.
     
  6. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    So because Houston is ok, you'll vote no.

    So when rural communities vote to slash transportation and education spending for Houston because they dont benefit, dont cry about it.
     
  7. Major

    Major Member

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    To be fair to Perry, the Rainy Day Fund is actually not meant for rainy days like we had. It's not supposed to be used to bridge a budget gap when creating a budget. The official purpose is to cover a gap caused between sessions since our legislature only meets every 2 years. For example, in this year's session, they plan out a budget and project revenues/expenses. Then a recession hits this fall, and our revenues next year don't pan out or expenses are higher due to social service needs - the rainy day fund is supposed to help there.

    It's not really meant to be used when you know the revenues are going to be less when the legislature is in session.
     
  8. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

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    Doesn't mean it couldn't have been used in that way to cover the gap in educational spending.
     
  9. Buck Turgidson

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    Wow, this is amazingly and sadly ignorant.
     
  10. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    First, I said would not vote on this issue - I did not say I would vote no. Second, what does any of this have to do with transportation and education?


    What am I ignoring? Explain yourself.
     
  11. leroy

    leroy Contributing Member

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    We're in the middle of a major drought in Central Texas. Even with the recent rains, Lake Travis (where a majority of the City of Austin gets its water from) is still nearly 50' below full. Growth in Central Texas is going faster than the Edwards Aquifer and LCRA can handle.
     
  12. Deckard

    Deckard Blade Runner
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    With all due respect, you clearly know nothing about the water supply crisis confronting Texas, a crisis we have been in for years due to a drought that is now the worst in Texas history. Dude, you should educate yourself. No only should Texans vote in favor of this amendment, they should toss out many of the members of the Legislature for a complete lack of leadership. For not addressing this in session, but rather shoving it on to the ballot months later. Horrible leadership by the ruling party in Texas. Simply horrible, considering the water crisis we are in, with no end in sight. And there is no end in sight of the terrible job the Republican majority in the Legislature is doing, along with the terrible job the executive branch is doing.

    They have failed Texas.
     
  13. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    Still does not explain what a $2 billion knee-jerk reaction will do. How do I know this isn't a Halliburton or Baker Hughes lead effort to subsidize their fracking jobs? You know, I heard in some parts of the world, that water conservation projects and water saving technologies allow corporations to claim a higher percent of claims on water - even if the projects and technology lead to no gain in water reserves.

    Even then, no one here knows what the $2 billion will be spent on. I also find it funny that people are making this a political issue by attacking Republicans, seeing as how they are the ones sponsoring the bill.:rolleyes:
     
  14. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    If approved by voters, the water fund will support billions in loans to farmers, businesses and cities to help upgrade agricultural irrigation equipment, install more efficient appliances, and repair leaking water mains.
     
  15. otis thorpe

    otis thorpe Member

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    the power industry also uses more and more water to cool turbines
     
  16. MiddleMan

    MiddleMan Contributing Member

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    Good thread will vote on these proposal come November.
     
  17. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    But the industry is also working on closed water systems so they don't have to keep drawing fresh water. A progressive regulator can keep pushing on its proliferation.
     
  18. Commodore

    Commodore Contributing Member

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    Great thing about being a libertarian, how to vote on these is usually straightforward:

    If it limits individual liberty, oppose it.

    If it limits government power, support it.

    If it spends money, oppose it (unless perhaps if the money is spent protecting individual liberty).

    If it lowers taxes, support it.

    When you're not interested in controlling people or spending their money, these questions are simple.

    If you're a meddler, well then you have to deliberate and contemplate on the best way to meddle.
     
  19. geeimsobored

    geeimsobored Contributing Member

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    Bumping this. Go vote. Turnout is going to be god awful. For those that complain your vote doesnt matter, turnout will be so terrible that your vote will play a huge role.
     

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