Let’s Vote!: 11.7.23

Early voting starts tomorrow!  I plan to stop off at the Waco Multi-Purpose Center in East Waco on my way to AfterSchool tomorrow and exercise my rights!

We are all getting a chance to vote on 14 amendments to the Texas Constitution, and some of us will have the chance to vote on school board trustees and other important local representatives.  This may not be one of the elections we think of as a “biggie” – but I believe in voting every chance I get!  If for no other reason, I hope all of you will stop by and vote for Prop. 9: the cost of living raise for retired teachers!

Here are some helpful links to get prepared to vote:

McLennan County Election information  –  This site gives you the scoop on where and when you can vote: November 7, 2023 Joint General Election | McLennan County, TX

Sample Ballot  –  This shows you what you will get a chance to vote on: Sample-Ballots-by-Precinct (civicplus.com)

You will need to know your precinct number to select your sample ballot.  If you are not sure, you can use the State of Texas Voter Portal link and fill out the “Am I registered?”  form.  This will tell you if you are registered, and it will also tell you your precinct number.  Here’s the link: My Voter Portal (texas.gov)

League of Women Voter’s Guide link – This gives “for” and “against” arguments for each of the proposed Texas Amendments: Plan Your Vote | VOTE411

Waco Trib Article about 14 amendments – this summarizes a little bit of information about each of the 14 amendments : Explaining all 14 amendments on ballot for TX voters Nov. 7 (wacotrib.com)

Hopefully these resources will help you decide how you want to vote.

If you are interested in my two-cents, here’s how I plan to vote:


Proposition 1 – “The constitutional amendment protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”

 No – I support farmers, ranchers, food producers, but given the Waco water situation, I am wary of giving up the local right to set rules to protect our drinking water.  I haven’t heard anything that convinces me that the current set up isn’t working fine, so I’ll probably vote “no” to just leave it as is.


Proposition 2 – “The constitutional amendment authorizing a local option exemption from ad valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child-care facility.”

Yes – There is already a shortage of reasonably priced child-care. If this helps even a little bit, it’s worth it.


Proposition 3 – “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”

No – This amendment trying to get us to promise that we will never have a state income tax or a state wealth tax.  We may or may not decide we want that in the future, but it seems dumb to me to “promise we won’t” until the time comes to consider an actual bill.  It costs money to pay for the stuff we want (schools, roads, etc.), that’s why we have taxes.  We are always going to have taxes. We need to work together to figure out what kind of taxation works best for us.  That may change over time.  It seems dumb to me to promise we aren’t even going to consider some particular kind of tax.


Proposition 4 – “The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts.”

No – I know I will probably be the only person in the state to vote against this.  Everyone wants their property taxes to go down.  I want my property taxes to go down too, but I feel like we need much more discussion about how we should be funding our public schools before we take these property taxes off the table.   What are we going to do when our current surplus is gone?  Are we going to pass another amendment to increase property taxes then?  I feel like this is just going to make it harder to get the money we need for schools.


Proposition 5 – “The constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”

Yes – Expanding the network of Texas universities with decent research capacity beyond just UT and A&M seems like a good idea to me.


 Proposition 6 – “The constitutional amendment creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this  state.”

 Yes – Water infrastructure is crucial.


Proposition 7 – “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”

 No – I agree we need to figure out something to support our electricity availability, but according to the League of Women Voter’s guide, “Solar and wind projects are not eligible for loans or grants from this fund.”  That seems dumb to me.  I would rather see us do something that leaves the door open to a variety of approaches – including wind and solar and other “green” options.


Proposition 8 – “The constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”

Yes – Everybody needs internet in this day and age, and I don’t think we can depend on private companies to provide it to rural areas where there might not be enough people to make it profitable for them.


Proposition 9 – “The constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”

 Yes!!!! – What they really ought to do is make cost-of-living raises for teachers automatic, but since we didn’t do that, we need to do this. Retired teachers have not had a cost-of-living increase since 2004.  That is almost 20 years! Think about how much more things cost now than they did in 2004! Teachers in Texas do not pay into Social Security.  They do not get pension payments AND Social Security — this IS their social security.


Proposition 10 – “The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas healthcare network and strengthen our medical supply chain.”

Yes – I have mixed feelings about this one because it means a loss of tax income that could potentially support public schools.  But, from what I have read, it sounds like this basically evens the playing field between Texas and other states who already do not assess this tax on equipment and inventory.  We would still collect property taxes from these businesses, just not taxes on equipment and inventory.  I worry that if we charge a tax that they can avoid by relocating to another state, that is what they will do.  Then we will lose both the jobs and the property tax.   Definitely not a clear yes or no for me though.  (Revised 10.26.23)


Proposition 11 – “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities.”

Yes – It really only affects El Paso County, so if the people in El Paso County want it, I’m fine with it.


Proposition 12 – “The constitutional amendment providing for the abolition of the office of county treasurer in Galveston County.”

Yes – It really only affects Galveston, but if they want it, I’m fine with it.


Proposition 13 – “The constitutional amendment to increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges.”

Yes – I don’t really agree with the idea of mandatory retirement age, especially for an elected office.  But if we are going to have it, I would like for it to be older than 75.


Proposition 14 – “The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”

Yes – Given the stressful times we are living in, I think it is more important than ever to set aside spaces for, as Pat Neff said at the dedication of Cameron Park, “communing with nature and nature’s God.”

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