Early Voting Begins in Texas
Early voting in Texas begins today, October 23, for fourteen amendments to the Texas constitution. Each one is the result of legislation passed during the 88th Texas Legislature earlier this year.
Methodist Healthcare Ministries advocated for several of the propositions on the ballot. They positively impact nonmedical drivers of health, improving the health of Texans and the patients we serve.
Proposition 2 – Childcare facilities
This amendment allows cities and counties to provide a property tax exemption for childcare providers if a minimum of 20% of their students receive subsidized childcare services. The exemption must be at least 50% of the property’s appraised value and does not apply to school district taxes or home-based childcare providers who have already received a homestead exemption.
Proposition 4 – Property taxes / school funding
This amendment lowers school district property taxes. Specifically, the amendment:
- Increases the amount of homestead exemptions from $40,000 to $100,000.
- Releases an additional $7.1 billion appropriated to school districts during the 88thTexas Legislature to lower property tax rates.
- Imposes a temporary 20% cap on increases in the taxable value of appraisals for commercial, mineral and residential properties that do not receive a homestead exemption and are worth less than $5 million. The cap expires in 2026.
- Expands the pool of business that do not pay the state franchise tax.
- Allows voters to elect three members to the local appraisal district board of directors. (The members are currently appointed).
Proposition 6 – Texas Water Fund
The 88th Texas Legislature created the Texas Water Development Board to oversee projects throughout the state recognizing clean water is essential for healthy communities. This amendment creates a fund within the state treasury, endowed with $1 billion to begin to address the state’s significant water issues.
- A minimum of 25% of the fund is dedicated to the New Water Supply Fund for Texas, supporting projects to increase the state’s water supply from nontraditional sources such as saltwater desalination.
- The remaining 75% is for the Texas Water Fund which aids in infrastructure repairs, obtaining new water sources, mitigating water loss at existing facilities and ensuring future water availability.
Proposition 8 – Broadband infrastructure fund
The Texas Broadband Development Office estimates 3 million Texas households do not have broadband internet connections and an additional 5 million households have unreliable connections. Most live in rural areas. The amendment provides $1.5 billion to develop and finance broadband, telecommunication and 911 services as well as provide matching funds for federal grants from the Broadband Equity, Access and Deployment Program.
Proposition 10 – Medical and biomedical products
This amendment exempts biomedical equipment and inventory when calculating a facility’s appraised value for property tax purposes. All taxing entities are included (city, county, school districts and special taxing districts) in the exemption. The rationale for giving the exemption is more manufacturers will choose to locate their business in Texas with a more favorable tax situation.
For more information about any amendments on the ballot, including arguments for and against each amendment, visit the nonpartisan voter guides published by The Texas Tribune or the League of Women Voters.
Everyone is encouraged to exercise their right to vote. Early voting runs through Friday, November 3. Election Day is Tuesday, November 7. To find your polling location and hours, visit the Texas Secretary of State’s website.