Texans to vote on 10 constitutional amendments in Nov. 5 election

Texas voters will head to the polls on Nov. 5 to decide the fate of 10 constitutional amendments, which feature issues ranging from disaster relief funding to a constitutional ban on state individual income taxes.

Each proposition needs just a simple majority vote to be adopted as part of the Texas Constitution. State lawmakers proposed and passed the amendments this spring in the legislative session.

One such amendment proposed by former Austin AGC Chairman Rep. John Cyrier (R-Lockhart) and Sen. Lois Kolkhorst (R-Brenham) aims to tighten up a 1993 law that directs sales tax revenue on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. While all funds from these taxes are supposed to help fund the parks department and historical commission, lawmakers have been able to divert these funds in the past for other issues. This proposition would ensure the money is spent as intended and will help state parks and historic sites.

Other high-profile amendments include an explicit ban on state individual income taxes sponsored by Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) and Sen. Pat Fallon (R-Prosper); an amendment giving temporary exemption on property taxes to property owners in areas declared affected by natural disasters; and a proposition increasing the amount the Permanent School Fund can contribute to education annually, from $300 million to $600 million.

The following is a full list of the constitutional amendments that will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot. Early voting begins Oct. 21. A detailed outline of the amendments along with arguments for and against them can be found here.

  1. Allowing municipal court judges to hold office in more than one municipality.
    "The constitutional amendment permitting a person to hold more than one office as a municipal judge at the same time."
  2. Allowing the Texas Water Development Board to issue bonds to fund sewer and water services in poor areas.
    "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."
  3. Allowing property owners in disaster-impacted areas to be exempt from property taxes for that year.
    "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."
  4. Imposing an explicit ban on a state individual income tax.
    "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."
  5. Imposing tighter controls to ensure that taxes on sporting goods are used to help fund the parks department and historical commission, as required by current law.
    "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."
  6. Allowing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.
    "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."
  7. Increasing the amount the Permanent School Fund can contribute to education annually, from $300 million to $600 million.
    "The constitutional amendment allowing increased distributions to the available school fund."
  8. Creating a flood infrastructure fund to help local governments determine and implement basic flood preparedness techniques in their area.
    "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."
  9. Exempting precious metals held in Texas depositories from property taxes.
    "The constitutional amendment authorizing the Legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation precious metal held in a precious metal depository located in this state."
  10. Allowing retired law enforcement animal transfer without fee.
    "The constitutional amendment to allow the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances."