Fall 2009 Election Guide

Vote YES to END Red Light Cameras!

Vote YES to END Red Light Cameras!

Red light cameras are not the only important issue in this election. On November 3, voters will be able to influence policy at the local, state and national level with their votes on key issues. We encourage you to vote as follows in the upcoming election, and to bring this guide with you into the election booth:

Proposition 1: NO

This constitutional amendment would allow the state and local governments to raise taxes to build support infrastructure to military bases. This measure is justified by supporters as a way to keep military bases in towns, but it is really just an excuse to raise taxes. Military bases are in the domain of the federal government, as are any roads and infrastructure necessary for their continued operation. This amendment will raise property taxes if passed.

Proposition 2: YES

This constitutional amendment allows the legislature to prevent cities from increasing the taxable value on land when residence is not considered the “highest and best use” of said land. For instance, if a corporation were buying up land in a city for gentrification and increasing neighborhood land values, they would not be able to drive people off of their property by radically increasing the taxes paid by property owners. This amendment would provide protection to property owners in Texas.

Proposition 3: YES

This constitutional amendment would ensure that smaller jurisdictions in Texas valued their land in a consistent manner. Currently, counties or other tax appraisal districts use different metrics in determining the taxable value of property. A uniform standard across Texas would provide protection to taxpayers.

Proposition 4: NO

This constitutional amendment would give $513 million to a National Research University Fund. This fund would attempt to increase some Texas universities to Tier 1 status. Texas A&M and the University of Texas would be banned from receiving these funds. We oppose this amendment not because it would give Tier 1 status to competing universities, but because it is a waste of the taxpayers’ money. Colleges should receive as much money as possible from donors and tuition. It is also a mistake to change the focus of Texas universities from the goal of education to that of research.

Proposition 5: NO

This constitutional amendment would allow two or more adjoining tax appraisal districts to merge into one unit. This is detrimental to the citizens of those jurisdictions because it removes the burden of accountability from the members of the appraisal review boards. This is to the disadvantage of the taxpayer.

Proposition 6: NO

This constitutional amendment would allow the Veterans’ Land Board to write more public debt to fund low-interest loans for military veterans without approval from the state legislature. While we support measures to help the veterans who serve so selflessly to protect our freedoms, we do not want to grant the VLB the power to write public debt with no oversight.

Proposition 7: YES

This constitutional amendment would allow members of the Texas State Guard and other active military force organized under state law to be civil servants and hold government jobs. While we do not support the expansion of government jobs, we do not want to unfairly prevent qualified men and women from holding those jobs simply because they have chosen to join the military.

Proposition 8: NO

This constitutional amendment would authorize the state to appropriate money to VA hospitals in Texas. For obvious reasons, we are against the state government appropriating any money to entities of the federal government, including the VA.

Proposition 9: NO

This constitutional amendment would strengthen the Open Beaches Act. This act has allowed the Texas government to seize the property of anyone whose property, due to forces natural or otherwise, is a certain distance past the line of vegetation on the Texas coast. This act was directly responsible for the loss of many homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. The law needs to be struck from the books as soon as possible; this amendment might enshrine it in the state constitution forever.

Proposition 10: NO

This constitutional amendment would allow the governing boards of emergency service districts (for instance, hospital districts) to serve for up to four years at a time, an increase from the two years they serve currently. Since these boards have the power to increase taxes, any increase in term length would weaken the accountability they have to their voters and taxpayers.

Proposition 11: YES

This constitutional amendment would protect landowners from the increased powers of eminent domain recently conferred upon local and state governments by the Kelo v. New London Supreme Court decision. Under this decision, governments have the power to seize blighted land because the new owners would raise more property taxes for the city. This amendment would remove that power and, in so doing, provide protection to landowners in Texas.  This amendment strengthens private property rights.

Red Light Camera Referendum: vote YES to ban red light cameras

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