Keep up with what’s happening in the Texas rental housing industry

Texans vote on constitutional amendments

Synopsis

The November 5 general election includes 10 propositions on the state ballot, plus some special elections in some areas.


Key takeaways

  • Early voting for this month’s election ended November 1. The election is November 5.
  • Some of the constitutional amendments on the ballot include measures for flood control, property tax relief following a disaster and income taxes.

Texas’ November 5 General Election offers Texas Apartment Association members an opportunity to make their voices heard on proposed amendments to the state constitution. While there are no other statewide ballot questions, some parts of the state, including Houston, will have city council elections or other local initiatives.

Election day is Tuesday, November 5. Learn what you will need at the polling place at www.votetexas.gov.

The Texas Apartment Association  supports Proposition 8 and made a contribution to the Stronger Texas PAC supporting that initiative. Proposition 8 would create a flood infrastructure fund using $1.7 billion from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (also known as the Rainy Day fund). If approved, the Texas Water Development Board would provide local communities with funding for planning and constructing flood control projects and other related uses. (See HJR 4 and SB 7.)

The efforts to pass this proposition are being spearheaded by state Rep. Dade Phelan (R-Beaumont), who chairs the House State Affairs Committee and authored the legislation enabling this proposition to get on the ballot.

TAA did not take an official position on any of the other proposed amendments, but some are of potential interest to the industry, including:

  • Property tax relief following disasters: Proposition 3 would expand current law regarding property tax relief following a governor-declared natural disaster. Exemptions would be based on the extent of the damage. (See HJR 34 and HB 492.)
  • Income tax: Voters will also have the chance to weigh in on an amendment (Proposition 4) to ban creation of a state income tax. This proposal goes further than current constitutional provisions requiring creation of any income tax to receive voter approval and be dedicated to public education funding (HJR 38)

Constitutional amendments require the support of two-thirds of the Texas House and Senate and a majority of voters. Proposed amendments do not need Gov. Greg Abbott’s signature to appear on the ballot but some need enabling legislation that do require his approval.

In 2017, all seven amendments put to a public vote passed by at least a 19.4 percentage point margin.

Since Texas’ constitution was adopted in 1876, 498 amendments have been added, while voters have turned down 179. It is also the second-longest state constitution by word count, surpassed only by Alabama’s.

Because constitutional amendment elections take place in odd-numbered years, these propositions will be the only races on the statewide ballot. In 2017, only 5.8 percent of the state’s then-15 million registered voters cast a ballot.

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