OK, let’s talk amendments:
Amendment 1 – Bonding authority for cities and counties to buy land around a military base to prevent encroachment
I don’t feel strongly about it, but I think this one is a good idea. Bases are a big deal for the communities they are in, and the communities ought to be able to take reasonable action to accommodate the bases and their projected needs. Some developers might be upset if this passes, but oh well.
Amendment 2 – Mandates taxation of a residential homestead based on the property’s value as a residence and not on whether the “highest and best use” of the property is deemed to be taking place.
This is absolutely a good amendment. If someone’s home just happens to be in an area that has grown into a high-dollar commercial property area, this prevents the home from being appraised as if it were potential high-dollar commercial property.
Amendment 3 – Uniform Standards and procedures for property appraisal
Another good one. Certain appraisal districts have a habit of appraising things, let’s say, a little bit too high a little bit too often. This amendment gives the state more oversight on these practices.
Amendment 4 – National Research University Fund for emerging research universities
This is a big one for Texas Tech, which is basically next-in-line for Tier One status. If you live in or around Lubbock, you need to support this.
Those concerned about extra spending need not worry — it’s actually revenue-neutral. It just shuffles state money around into an endowment for emerging research institutions.
Amendment 5 – Consolidation of appraisal review boards
This is another good one to help rural counties save money and provide better service for appraisal reviews.
Amendment 6 – Expand bonding authority for programs allowing veterans to finance land and home purchases
This one is good because it cuts out red tape when it comes to helping veterans get into a home.
Amendment 7 – Exempt Texas State Guard offices from prohibition against dual office-holding
I don’t feel strongly either way about this amendment. We already make exceptions for dual office-holding for County Commissioners, JPs, National Guard, and US Armed Forces. It does seem like an oversight that Texas State Guard was left out, so it’s probably worth supporting this amendment.
Amendment 8 – Veterans’ Hospital for the Rio Grande Valley
Yes. Texas has a large veteran population, and we need more facilities to support them.
Amendment 9 – Place Open Beaches Act into Constitution
This one is tricky. Public beaches are important and should be preserved, but what happens when your privately-owned house is now underwater thanks to a natural disaster? This is exactly what happened with Hurricane Ike, and it looks like several homeowners are about to see (what’s left of) their homes become public property without compensation.
My inclination is to go for this one. Beach houses and businesses come with a certain amount of risk, and mitigating that risk should not trump the right of the public to access the beaches of Texas.
Amendment 10 – Allow Legislature to extend terms of emergency services districts from two to four years
I don’t feel strongly about this one either. It’s probably not going to hurt anything to have four-year terms instead of two-year terms. But, I don’t see a compelling reason to change it away from two-year terms either.
Amendment 11 – Limit Legislature’s authority to grant power of eminent domain to certain governmental and public purposes, and not for economic development
Yes. This follows eminent domain legislation passed a few years back. Eminent domain for economic development or tax revenue enhancement is an avenue to corruption.
And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
As always, the wonderful and nonpartisan League of Women Voters voter guide is a great resource. You can take it or any other literature you like with you into the voting booth.
Have at it in the comments.