Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nine amendments

On November 5, nine amendments to the Texas Constitution will be put to a vote. Here’s what my ballot looks like:

  1. “Authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed in action.”

    AGAINST. This smacks of political grandstanding by the amendment’s sponsor. My condolences to the bereaved, but wives and husbands of the deceased who did not serve in the military would unfairly receive no exemption under this law. They may see their property taxes go up to make up the difference in lost revenue. Generally I favor fewer tax exemptions and lower tax rates.

  2. “Eliminating an obsolete requirement for a State Medical Education Board and a State Medical Education Fund, neither of which is operational.”

    FOR. Even if it was operational, I would say get rid of it. Smaller government is better government.

  3. “Authorizing a political subdivision of this state to extend the number of days that aircraft parts that are exempt from ad valorem taxation due to their location in this state for a temporary period may be located in this state for purposes of qualifying for the tax exemption.”

    AGAINST. This amendment seems too specific to be motivated by free market principles. Crony capitalists shouldn’t get their own special tax exemptions.

  4. “Authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization.”

    FOR. I should be voting AGAINST to be consistent with my vote on Amendment 1, but recipients of charitable gifts should not be taxed on those gifts. This amendment opens the possibility of exempting from taxation all charitable gifts down the road.

  5. “Authorizing the making of a reverse mortgage loan for the purchase of homestead property and amending lender disclosures and other requirements in connection with a reverse mortgage loan.”

    BLANK. On one hand, I want people to be able to do what they want with their property. On the other hand, I don’t want newfangled financial instruments to combine with wayward centralized planning to create something akin to another housing bubble. I just don’t know enough about the mortgage industry to make an informed decision.

  6. “Providing for the creation of the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas and the State Water Implementation Revenue Fund for Texas to assist in the financing of priority projects in the state water plan to ensure the availability of adequate water resources.”

    AGAINST. Texas is in the middle of a terrible drought, and water resources will continue to be stressed as the state endures growing pains. Nevertheless, I don’t like the idea of giving $2 billion to a panel of bureaucrats. I am also concerned the state water plan would stomp on Texans’ property rights. “Stress is the fertilizer of creativity,” as 24 villain Jonas Hodges said. The market will supply innovations to meet Texans’ water needs.

  7. “Authorizing a home-rule municipality to provide in its charter the procedure to fill a vacancy on its governing body for which the unexpired term is 12 months or less.”

    AGAINST. Current Texas law requires a special election to be called to fill a vacated seat. Elected officials can do a lot of harm in 12 months. I’d prefer they be accountable to the masses who vote for them than to a relatively small cohort of officials who appoint them.

  8. “Repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.”

    FOR. The Fort Bend County Libertarian Party writes: “The wording of this proposed amendment is confusing but our research indicates it allows Hidalgo County NOT to be required to have a county-subsidized hospital; all counties should have this option.” The freedom to choose whether or not to have a hospital is about as straightforward as it gets.

  9. “Relating to expanding the types of sanctions that may be assessed against a judge or justice following a formal proceeding instituted by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct.”

    FOR. Consider this a symbolic poke in the eye of the judicial oligarchy.

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