Election Day — November 5th

November 5th is Election Day! There are several proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution on the ballot, as well as two very important local bond elections that impact District 101: Arlington ISD and Tarrant County College, both of which I strongly support. 

For polling locations anywhere in Texas, visit MyTexasVotes.com.Below is a summary of each item on the ballot, as well as my recommendation on each.

CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENTS
Proposition No. 1 (HJR 72) – Support 
SUMMARY: Authorizes a person to hold more than one office as an elected or appointed municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time.

WHY SUPPORT: Allowing a person to hold elected office as a municipal judge in more than one municipality would make it easier to fill that office in smaller municipalities.

Proposition No. 2 (SJR 79) – Support 
SUMMARY: Allows the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional bonds of up to $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas of the state.

WHY SUPPORT: The high costs associated with maintaining and expanding water infrastructure in Texas are best financed through the issuance of bonds as this will allow for greater and more reliable long-term funding.

Proposition No. 3 (HJR 34) – Support 
SUMMARY: Permits the Legislature to temporarily lower tax rates on property damaged during a disaster declared by the governor.

WHY SUPPORT: Providing a temporary tax exemption for property damaged by a disaster is a cheaper, simpler, and more easily administrable method of providing property tax relief to those suffering the aftereffects of a disaster than the current method of reappraisal.

Proposition No. 4 (HJR 38) – Oppose
SUMMARY: Bans the creation of a state income tax, which is already prohibited.

WHY OPPOSE: This amendment is completely unnecessary since the constitution already says that an income tax is prohibited unless it is approved by the voters. This amendment is about politics, not real policy. It also takes away the governor’s veto authority in the extraordinarily unlikely event the Legislature were to decide to pass a state income tax and there is real concern the amendment could interfere with the existing business franchise tax.

Proposition No. 5 (SJR 24) – Support
SUMMARY: Dedicates the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission.

WHY SUPPORT: State parks in Texas received a record 9.7 million visits in fiscal year 2017. Chronic underfunding of the state park system, however, has left many parks unable to safely and adequately accommodate visitors. The constitutional amendment will help to ensure that our parks have the resources they need to adequately fund deferred maintenance projects, maintain appropriate staff levels, ensure visitor safety, and expand to meet the needs of a growing population. I was proud to joint-author this important legislation.

Proposition No. 6 (HJR 12) – Support
SUMMARY: Authorizes the Legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

WHY SUPPORT: Increasing the amount of bond funding available for the institute is essential to ensuring the Institute maintains its status as a national leader in cancer research and prevention. I was also a joint author of this legislation.

Proposition No. 7 (HJR 151) – Support
SUMMARY: Doubles the annual possible General Land Office distribution to schools to $600 million and lets the State Board of Education sell bonds for that purpose, currently prevented by the constitution.

WHY SUPPORT: This would allow Texas to increase money to students and teachers when sufficient revenues are available.

Proposition No. 8 (HJR 4) – Support
SUMMARY: Creates the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.

WHY SUPPORT: Significant funding for flood control and mitigation projects is necessary to ensure that the state is able to prepare for and recover from natural disasters like Hurricane Harvey.

Proposition No. 9 (HJR 95) – Neutral
SUMMARY: Creates a tax exemption for precious metals held in the Texas Bullion Depository located in Leander, TX.

Supporters Say: Provides an explicit exemption for precious metal held in a Texas depository, regardless of whether the precious metal is held for the production of income, would encourage owners of such metal to keep their holdings in the state, making Texas depositories more competitive.

Opponents Say: A business may be able to escape taxation of its income producing precious metal inventory by holding it in a depository, which could reduce taxable property values and create a cost to local taxing units and the state.

Proposition No. 10 (SJR 32) – Support
SUMMARY: Allows the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a qualified caretaker in certain circumstances.

WHY SUPPORT: Law enforcement agencies would like to be able to transfer retired law enforcement animals into their handlers’ care, free of charge. Law enforcement animals generally live with their handlers while in service. This amendment makes it easier for such an animal to retire to the home where it has lived its entire life, which is in the best interest of the animal.

LOCAL BONDS
Arlington ISD Bond 2019 – Support  
The Arlington ISD Board of Trustees has placed a $966 million bond package on the ballot. The proposed new bond program would not require an increase in the debt service tax rate and would be implemented throughout the next five years, ending in 2025. The proposed 2019 bond would build on the District’s 2014 Bond program and provide critical infrastructure to the following four areas:

  1. Facilities
  2. Fine Arts
  3. Transportation
  4. Safety, Security, and Technology

The projects proposed under this bond are intended to impact every school and are designed to affect all students to help ensure equity amongst schools within AISD. The list below provides a brief look at some of the projects included within the proposal:

  • Full-day Pre-K classrooms renovations
  • Junior high and high school fine arts/dual language academies
  • New playgrounds and shade structures for all elementary schools
  • Athletics facilities and fine arts upgrades, including new fine arts instruments and uniforms
  • New school buses
  • Safety and security upgrades

This link provides a full presentation by AISD’s chief financial officer outlining the proposed bond program.

Tarrant County College 2019 Bond
Improvement Proposition – Support 
Tarrant County College has placed a bond improvement proposition on the ballet for the first time in 25 years. This $825 million proposal would go to construct, renovate, and equip Tarrant County College campuses. The TCC Southeast Campus, located in the heart of District 101, would benefit from $125 million in funds for new construction and renovation – this is badly needed, as the campus is severely overcrowded due to our rapid growth.

Since the last bond proposal, the district-wide enrollment has nearly doubled. This bond comes at a zero-tax rate increase and would serve all 6 of TCC’s campuses.

The following list highlights some of the many projects included within the proposal:

  • 200+ offerings in different associate degrees & certifications
  • Career-ready training for healthcare technicians and nurses
  • Public safety training for law enforcement, emergency medical services (EMS), and firefighting careers
  • Adult job re-training classes
  • Technology and computer science career training
  • Skill-training classes in construction trades, culinary arts, hospitality, and manufacturing
  • Transferrable college classes to local 4-year colleges (like UTA, UNT, TCU, TWU, Tarleton & others)
  • Advance college credit opportunities for Tarrant County high school students

This link provides a full PowerPoint presentation outlining the bond proposal, including a full list of projects.

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