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Endorsement watch: Seven of eight

I didn’t get around to this yesterday, but the Chron endorsed nearly all of the remaining Constitutional amendments by giving its thumbs-up to propositions 2, 3, and 5 and 1, 6, 7, and 8. From the former:

Proposition 2 would authorize the Legislature “to provide for the ad valorem taxation of a residence homestead solely on the basis of the property’s value as a residence homestead.”

This amendment is intended to protect less affluent homeowners from situations in which rapid commercialization in their area threatens to drive up property taxes unreasonably year after year. This protection is particularly important in no-zoning cities such as Houston, where such development can occur quickly and with potentially difficult consequences for homeowners. The measure would be strictly limited to residences qualifying for the home-owners exemption, thus eliminating the potential for use by speculators.

Proposition 3 would provide for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for ad valorem tax purposes. This, too, is a straightforward response to differences in appraising methodology observed by state officials monitoring the appraisal process statewide. Unfortunately, the proposition has been plagued by Internet rumors that it is a back-door method to introduce a statewide property tax. It is no such thing, assures state Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, an author of the amendment. Williams says it is simply a means to achieve uniformity of appraising methods in the interests of more equitable appraisals in all areas.

Proposition 5 would “authorize the Legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations.” This amendment is designed primarily to assist less populated areas around the state where finding qualified people to handle the appraisal process is sometimes a problem. It is written to be “permissive,” which means a larger entity cannot force a smaller one to participate without its consent.

We encourage passage of Propositions 2, 3 and 5.

I’m a little suspicious of these three as well, but not as strongly as I am of Prop 11. Any feedback regarding them would be welcome.

From the latter:

Proposition 1 is straightforward: It recognizes the value of military installations to the economy and security of Texas and authorizes means by which municipalities and counties can protect those facilities from encroachment. This is of particular importance for the San Antonio, El Paso and Killeen areas, where military facilities contribute significantly to the local economy. If voters approve this constitutional amendment, the Texas Legislature would need to pass enabling legislation before bonds could be issued for this purpose.

Proposition 6 would authorize “the Veterans’ Land Board to issue general obligation bonds in amounts equal to or less than amounts previously authorized.” This amendment would eliminate the requirement for the Veterans’ Land Board to return to the Legislature every four years for bonding authority. Since the VLB was approved by constitutional amendment in 1946, bonds for the Veterans Housing Assistance Program and Veterans Land Program have helped thousands of Texas veterans. The proposition has no opposition.

Proposition 7 would “allow an officer or enlisted member of the Texas State Guard or other state militia or military force to hold other civil offices.” This amendment brings members of the Texas State Guard into the broader class of military personnel who have been made eligible to hold public office over the years, correcting what was apparently an oversight. There is no opposition.

Proposition 8 would authorize “the state to contribute money, property, and other resources for the establishment, maintenance, and operation of veterans hospitals” in Texas. Currently, the state of Texas lacks authority to contribute to veterans hospitals. This amendment would allow the state to partner with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs in construction of these facilities. There is no specific opposition to this proposition.

I have no particular problem with any of these.

By my count, the Chron has now giving its approval to ten of the 11 propositions on the ballot – these seven, plus Prop 4, Prop 9, and the aforementioned Prop 11. They have not yet weighed in on Prop 10, which strikes me as fairly innocuous. Not sure what’s up with that, but maybe they’ll get to it over the weekend.

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