VOTING SEASON: What state and local propositions to look for on your ballot

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AUSTIN, Texas (Nexstar/KETK) – Early voting starts on Monday, and there are ten statewide propositions for Texans to vote on and two local propositions to consider. The proposed amendments to the state constitution range from property tax exemptions to increasing cancer research bonds.

Here is a quick summary of each proposition and the possible impact.

Proposition 1

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time.”

Proposition 1 would allow a person to serve as more than one appointed or elected municipal judge, assuming the person was appointed to each of those positions.

The Texas House Research Organization argues if the proposition is passed it will allow smaller municipalities to have more qualified judges.

Representative James White introduced the proposition in the 2019 legislative session, and it is one of three propositions that did not receive any legislative opposition.

Proposition 2

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.”

Proposition 2 would allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds to developing the water supply and sewer service in economically distressed areas. The total amount cannot exceed $200 million.

Senator Eddie Lucio was the leading author of the proposal. House and Senate Democrats supported the amendment while Republicans were more split.

Proposition 3

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”

This proposition would allow temporary tax exemptions for areas designated as the government declared disaster areas.

If Proposition 3 is approved, House Bill 492 would go into effect and set guidelines for when and how the government can allow exemptions.

Proposition 4

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income “

Proposition 4 would put a ban on enacting a personal income tax, and make it harder to remove the ban in the future.

If lawmakers wanted to remove the ban in the future they would need a constitutional amendment, which requires two-thirds approval in each legislative chamber and voter approval.

Proposition 5

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.”

Under Proposition 5, sales tax from sporting goods would go towards the state Parks and Wildlife Department and the state Historical Commission.

The current law allows lawmakers to use the funds for other purposes. The proposition would not allow for the decreased funding for parks, wildlife, and historical agencies to be more than 50%.

Proposition 6

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.”

Proposition 6 would increase the maximum amount of bonds from $3 billion to $6 billion for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

$300 million is the limit for the amount of funding the CPRIT can receive in one year. Proposition 6 is another one of three propositions that did not receive any legislative opposition.

Proposition 7

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund.”

Proposition 7 doubles the amount of funding the Texas General Land Office and State Board of Education can give to the Available School Fund from $300 million to $600 million each year.

GLO was first given $300 million in 2017 to give to ASF from land-related proceeds.

Proposition 8

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”

Proposition 8 would create the Flood Infrastructure Fund. The Texas Water Development Board could use the funds for flood drainage, mitigation, and control projects.

Senate Bill 7, which would regulate how the funds can be spent, was passed by the legislature and will go into effect if the proposition is approved by voters. The amendment also received no legislative opposition.

Proposition 9

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state.”

If approved, Proposition 9 would allow the legislature to exempt property taxes for precious metals held in precious metal depositories.

House Bill 2859 defines precious metals as gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium that “bears a high value-to-weight ratio” and “customarily is formed into bullion or specie.”

Proposition 10

Ballot Title: “The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances. “

Proposition 10 would allow law enforcement to transfer a retired service animal to a qualified caretaker with no fee.

Senate Bill 2100 requires the animal to be given to a qualified caregiver or a former handler.

Smith County ESD 2

Ballot Title: “The adoption of a local sales and use tax in Smith County Emergency Services District No. 2 at a rate not to exceed one and one-half percent in any location in the district.”

Proposition A would allow a tax increase to pay for additional firefighters. Texas currently collects a sales tax of 6.25 percent, while local jurisdictions can collect up to two percent with voter approval. The proposition is asking for a 1.5 percent increase.

Bullard, Troup, and Arp already have a maximum 8.25 sales tax, making the proposed sales tax ineffective.

More on this proposition HERE: 11 Smith County fire departments propose a sales tax increase

City of Overton

Ballot Title: “Mayor, City of Overton.”

The proposition allows voters to choose for none or one person for mayor. The candidates are C.R. Evans and Susan Bobbitt.

Voting Locations & Times

For more information on voting in Smith County, click HERE.

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