Texas Denies Approval of This One Constitutional Amendment
On Nov. 7, 13 of the 14 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution were passed by voters. Almost 2.6 million votes were cast statewide, with only about 15% of the more than 17.7 million registered voters in the state casting a vote.
With 100% of the counties and polling locations reporting, all of the amendments except for Proposition 13 appeared to have passed, according to the Secretary of State’s office.
Which Amendments Did Voters Not Approve Of?
The most consequential amendments for taxpayers that passed were Propositions 3, 4, and 9. These amendments establish a permanent ban on a wealth tax, implement property tax reform measures, and increase retired teachers’ pensions.
The amendment that did not pass was Proposition 13, which seeks to increase the mandatory age for retirement of state justices and judges.
Texas Bans a Wealth Tax
Proposition 3 prohibits “the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.” The proposition passed with 67.88% of voters saying they were for the amendments.
Only 32% of voters were against the proposition. This means that there will be no new state taxes on residents that would be based on net worth or wealth.
Elderly and Disabled Texans Are Getting a Tax Break
Perhaps the biggest win for Texans was Proposition 4 being added to the state’s constitution.
Proposition 4 increases the state’s homestead exemption to $100,000. It also limits property tax increases on the elderly and disabled, sets an appraisal cap of 20% on property other than residential homesteads for three years, and creates three new elected positions for appraisal review boards in counties with populations over 75,000.
Retired Texas Teachers Get a Break, Too
Proposition 9 was also a big win for the state. The amendment provided retired Texas teachers with cost-of-living raises to their monthly pension checks.
According to Teach Retirement System of Texas (via Dallas Daily), 476,000 retired educators received an average monthly payment of $2,174 in 2022. Retired teachers’ pensions increase between 2% and 6% under the proposal.
An Overwhelming Majority Approved of Farming and Ranching Rights
An overwhelming majority passed Proposition 1, which required the state and local government to provide evidence that regulation of generally accepted farming and ranching practices is needed to protect the public from danger.
With 79% of voters approving Proposition 1, their right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management is protected.
Texas Preschools and Child-Care Facilities Are Getting Much-Needed Support from the State
Texas voters also passed Proposition 2, with 65% of Texans approving of subsidized child-care facilities being exempt from paying some property taxes. The exemption must be at least 50% of the property’s appraised value.
Cynthia McCollum, the executive director of Open Door Preschools, told KXAN that the schools she managed depended “enormously” on pandemic relief money. “The only reason we were able to keep to open was because of the support and the funding that came through the state to us,” McCollum told the news outlet. “But even with all of that, like I said, we had to close a school.”
More Funds Are Going Toward Higher Education
Child-care facilities are not the only places getting support from the state of Texas. Proposition 5, which was passed with 64% of voters approving it, permanently provides additional funds to Texas State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston, and the University of North Texas.
Up to $100 million will be directed to these institutions from the state’s Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the Rainy Day Fund, in addition to the funding they already receive through the general revenue fund.
Voters Approve of the Expensive Efforts Need to Protect Texas
Voters also passed amendments to help create four new billion-dollar funds that help preserve the natural beauty of Texas while improving the quality of life in the Lone Star state.
Proposition 6 creates a $1 billion Texas Water Fund, while Prop 7 creates the Texas Energy Fund. Prop 8 creates a $1.5 billion broadband infrastructure fund, and Prop 14 creates a $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund.
Texas Exempt Taxes on Finished Goods From Medical Manufacturers
Proposition 10 passed, which authorized the state legislature to provide for a tax exemption on equipment and inventory manufactured by medical or biomedical companies.
A fiscal note on the proposition estimates it will result in $28.8 million in state revenue losses and $43.1 million in school district revenue losses in 2025 (via Washington Examiner).
Two Amendments That Could Affect Texas Greatly
Two amendments that will impact two counties in Texas passed authorization. The legislature permits conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds to fund parks and rec facilities, thanks to Proposition 11.
In Galveston County, Proposition 12 gives the local government the power to abolish the Galveston County Office of the Treasurer. The treasurer is responsible for managing the government’s finances, including collecting taxes, paying bills, and investing funds. It is unclear what Galveston County plans to do without a treasurer to pay its bills or provide essential services to its citizens.
Why Was Proposition 13 Not Passed?
Just 37% of the voters in Texas supported Proposition 13, which would have raised the mandatory retirement age for judges. The minimum retirement age would have increased from 75 years old to 79.
Supporters argued that people are working later into their lives, and longer-serving judges bring much-needed experience to the bench. They also argued that longer life expectancy made raising the mandatory retirement age appropriate. Many voters believed that letting judges stay on the job into their 70s is pointless.