Quick guide to 2011 statewide propositions

Quick guide to 2011 statewide propositions

TEXAS (KLTV) - When Texans go to the polls Tuesday, they'll be able to vote on 10 statewide propositions that, if passed, will amend the state constitution.

All ten propositions have been passed by the Texas Legislature, but are required to have voter approval before the constitution can be amended.

They are as follows:

Proposition 1: Property tax exemptions for surviving spouses of disabled veterans.

Proposition 1 would allow the 100% homestead exemption that is granted to 100% disabled veterans to pass along to their surviving spouses if they pass away.

Under current law, surviving spouses are required to pay property taxes again once a veteran passes away. If proposition 1 passes, the homestead exemption would transfer to the surviving spouse as long as he or she had not remarried at the time they qualified for the exemption transfer.

Proposition 2: Texas Water Development Board bonds.

Proposition 2 will allow the Texas Water Development Board to issue up to $6 billion in bonds to cities, counties, and water supply corporations for state and local infrastructure improvements that will improve Texas' water supply.

Proposition 3: Education loans funded by general obligation bonds.

Proposition 3 would allow the Hinson-Hazelwood College Student Loan Program, which gives low-interest student loans to students who otherwise couldn't finance their education, to continue into perpetuity as long as some conditions are met.

The program has been around for decades, but voters have been required to reissue general obligation bonds from time to time to finance the program. If Proposition 3 passes Tuesday, the program would always be funded as long as the outstanding loans don't exceed the amount previously issued by Texas voters -- almost $2 billion.

Proposition 4: Counties permitted to issue bonds related to development of un/underdeveloped or blighted areas.

Proposition 4 would allow counties to issue tax-supported bonds to develop or redevelop unproductive or blighted areas and could help leverage funding for transportation projects that the county has jurisdiction over.

Proposition 5: Cities/counties can enter into interlocal contracts without a tax or sinking fund.

This proposition would give the Legislature the authority to allow cities and counties to enter into certain contracts (interlocal agreements) with greater flexibility.

If proposition 5 passes, cities and counties could enter into interlocal agreements without having to impose new taxes or enter into new debt.

Currently, an interlocal agreement between entities that lasts longer than one year is accompanied by a debt obligation that would require a tax to pay for the debt.

Proposition 6: Changes in the permanent school fund.

Proposition 6 would make additional public education funding available through accounting changes in two Texas funds -- the State Land Board and the Permanent School Fund. An additional $300 million from the State Land Board will be available directly to the available school fund if Proposition 6 passes.

Proposition 7: Provision of parks and recreational facilities in El Paso County.

Proposition 7 would add El Paso County to other Texas counties that are allowed to create conservation and reclamation districts to develop recreational facilities and parks.

If Proposition 7 passes, El Paso County will be able to issue bonds to build and maintain parks and public recreational spaces and levy taxes to repay the bonds.

Ten other counties currently have this authority.

Proposition 8: Tax appraisal rules for open space land devoted to water stewardship.

If it passes, Proposition 8 would be Texas' first statewide water conservation tool, providing agricultural exemptions to Texas property owners who, upon land appraisals by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, are found to manage their land in a manner that improves water quality and quantity.

Proposition 9: Governor allowed to grant pardons related to deferred adjudication community supervision.

Proposition 9 would allow the governor the ability to grant a pardon to Texans who successfully complete deferred adjudication community supervision.

Proposition 10: Rules for automatic resignation of politicians who become candidates for other offices.

This proposition would revise the "resign to run" provision in Texas law, extending the time frame by one month (from one year to one year and one month) in which an elected official at the local and district level may announce intentions to run for office while holding another office.

Statewide-elected officials seeking higher office are already exempt from the "resign to run" provision.

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