Proposition 2, which Texas voters will consider Nov. 2, contains misleading ballot wording to hide the fact that this proposition uses local property tax increases to pay for transportation projects that should be funded by the state using your existing taxes.

Prop 2 is the result of House Joint Resolution 99, authored by Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, to give counties the ability to issue new road debt using an unpopular method backed by property tax increases called Transportation Reinvestment Zones.

Lawmakers already tried to pass this in 2011 as Prop 4, but voters rejected it. Now they think they can get it past voters this November by removing the phrase “ad valorem tax increases,” and include “transportation,” since ballot initiatives for transportation tend to pass with over 80 percent of the vote.

In fact, Prop 2 would authorize counties to divert up to 65 percent of your property tax increases to projects the state should be funding with your existing road taxes.

Even more concerning is the broad language used for the land to do it. It changes the state constitution to give counties authority to issue bonds to finance “undeveloped, underdeveloped, or blighted areas.” That could mean virtually anything.

One man’s blight is another man’s treasure. The word “transportation” wasn’t even included in the original bill.

In 2011, the ballot said: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit a county to issue bonds or notes to finance the development or redevelopment of an unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted area and to pledge for repayment of the bonds or notes increases in ad valorem taxes imposed by the county on property in the area. The amendment does not provide authority for increasing ad valorem tax rates.”

However, Prop 2 now says this in 2021: “The constitutional amendment authorizing a county to finance the development or redevelopment of transportation or infrastructure in unproductive, underdeveloped, or blighted areas in the county.”

Be forewarned, this bill involves increases to your property taxes to pay off long-term debt for decades for transportation projects, or anything they can call “infrastructure.” It also virtually guarantees your property taxes won’t go down.

Since voters don’t get the chance to vote for or against any future transportation reinvestment zones established by a county if Prop 2 passes in November, voting against Prop 2 is voters’ only chance to say “no” to more property tax increases, blank checks for property rights abuses and deceptive ballot language.

Terri Hall is founder and director of TexasTURF.org and TollfreeHighways.com. Both groups advocate for property rights and pro-taxpayer transportation solutions.

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(3) comments

John E Sr. Macrini

Thank You for this clarification Ms. Hall. Our current taxes are already exorbitant.

Jose' Boix

Once again, our Texas Legislators are proposing 8 amendments for the November 2, 2021 election - Proposition 2 is just one of them. Check details by linking to: https://lrl.texas.gov/legis/ConstAmends/results.cfm?electionDate=Nov%202,%202021

The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation and is still growing. According to information post by The Legislative Reference Library of Texas: “The Texas Constitution is one of the longest in the nation and is still growing. As of 2019 (the 86th Legislature), the Texas Legislature has proposed a total of 690 amendments. Of these, 507 have been adopted, and 180 have been defeated by Texas voters. Thus, the Texas Constitution has been amended 507 times since its adoption in 1876.”

Our Legislators are spending ineffective time crafting amendments to the Constitution. Our Constitution should be a Policy-based document and not Procedure-based. These Constitutional Amendments are procedural items that should be left to a vote of the Legislature. Our vote should direct them to redesign our Constitution instead.

Carlos Ponce

According to Ballotpedia Incorporated cities and towns ALREADY can " issue bonds for infrastructure and transportation projects in blighted areas." This proposition would expand it to include counties.

"Proposition 2 would amend the Texas Constitution to authorize counties to issue bonds to fund the development of transportation and infrastructure projects in blighted areas. The amendment prohibits counties that issue bonds for such purposes from pledging more than 65% of the increase in ad valorem tax revenues to repay the bonds. It would also prohibit the funds from the bond issue to be used for constructing, operating, maintaining, or acquiring a toll road."

Currently, the state constitution authorizes incorporated cities and towns to issue bonds for infrastructure and transportation projects in blighted areas. Cities and towns were first authorized to issue bonds for such purposes in 1981 with the passage of Proposition 1."

https://ballotpedia.org/Texas_Proposition_2,_Authorize_Counties_to_Issue_Infrastructure_Bonds_in_Blighted_Areas_Amendment_(2021)

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