Texas REALTORS® Supports Three Constitutional Amendments

Ten proposed constitutional amendments are on the ballot statewide. Many jurisdictions also have municipal elections, bond issues, and other local initiatives on the ballot. Texas REALTORS® has endorsed three of the statewide propositions because of its benefits for real estate consumers and property owners.

  • Proposition 2, which supports water infrastructure;
  • Proposition 3, which provides a temporary property tax exemption to owners in areas declared disasters; and
  • Proposition 8, which provides funding for flood mitigation infrastructure.

Below is a further analysis of why they have taken a position of support. The association has not taken a position on the other seven proposed amendments. Visit TexasRealtorsSupport.com to learn more about all 10 constitutional amendments … and share this flier to promote these REALTOR®-supported propositions.

 

Proposition 2: What you’ll see on the ballot
“The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $200 million to provide financial assistance for the development of certain projects in economically distressed areas.”

What it does
Proposition 2 would let the Texas Water Development Board sell bonds, the proceeds of which would be used to encourage building water supply and wastewater facilities in economically distressed cities.

Analysis
Proposition 2 would provide essential financing for necessary water and wastewater infrastructure projects in economically distressed areas of Texas. The Economically Distressed Areas Program (EDAP) needs to be replenished if it is to continue funding existing projects and support future projects for communities that otherwise could not afford access to safe water.

While the costs of water infrastructure are high, it is critical that Texans have access to water that meets state standards. Financing some of these costs through bond issues would allow for greater and more reliable funding over a longer period of time. Using general revenue to support EDAP and water infrastructure development would strain available resources without providing the long-term benefits of a bond issuance, which allows expenses to be funded in a more flexible manner.

 

Proposition 3: What you’ll see on the ballot
“The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for a temporary exemption from ad valorem taxation of a portion of the appraised value of certain property damaged by a disaster.”

What it does
Following a disaster, as declared by the governor, Proposition 3 would provide a temporary property tax exemption for property owners.

Analysis
Proposition 3 is necessary to enable the Legislature to pass laws entitling individuals to a temporary tax exemption for properties damaged by a disaster.

Under HB 492, the enabling legislation that would take effect if Proposition 3 was approved by the voters, such an exemption would give taxing units a less expensive, easier to administer, and more easily understood method for providing relief to taxpayers harmed by a disaster than does the current method of disaster reappraisal. Under current law, a taxing unit may, but is not required to, authorize property reappraisal after a disaster. Many choose not to allow reappraisals. If a taxing unit does allow reappraisals, appraisal districts must use extensive time and resources to personally examine damaged property and appraise its value. The current statute’s language and unspecified timeline are vague and have led to confusion for taxing units, appraisers, and property owners.

Under the proposition and its enabling legislation, property owners would be entitled to a temporary exemption after a disaster if it occurred before the local tax rate was set. If the disaster occurred after rates were set, local governments would have the option to allow the exemption. The amount of the exemption would be based on damage assessments provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or another source the chief appraiser considered appropriate. This method would allow appraisers and taxing units to save time and money and avoid duplicative assessments or reappraisals at potentially hazardous properties. Taxpayers are more familiar with property tax exemptions than with reappraisals and amending the Constitution to allow an exemption would provide taxpayers with more immediate relief. The enabling legislation also would provide a clear timeline to claim exemptions and give taxpayers the opportunity to protest the results of a damage assessment rate.

 

Proposition 8: What you’ll see on the ballot
“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of drainage, flood mitigation, and flood control projects.”

What it does
Creates a flood infrastructure fund to assist in the financing of certain projects.

Analysis
By creating the Flood Infrastructure Fund, Proposition 8 would establish regional planning and coordination on flood mitigation projects to better provide for vital infrastructure in the state. A significant funding source is necessary to ensure cooperation among regions and affected stakeholders and to create a more resilient Texas in preparation for future flood events. Along with its enabling legislation, SB 7 by Creighton, the proposition would provide disbursement oversight for the fund. Under SB 7, a local government could access funds only if it had fully cooperated with other entities in the region, held public meetings to accept comments from stakeholders, and completed the project’s technical requirements and compared it to others in the area.

The infrastructure fund created by Proposition 8 and SB 7 would provide grants or low-cost loans to assist local governments with basic flood project planning, grant applications, and engineering flood mitigation projects that were structural (e.g., levees, dikes, and dams) and nonstructural (e.g., education, mitigation plans, and engineering studies). Federal funds are available for flood projects after disastrous events, but counties and cities may not be able to put up the matching funds necessary to access that money. Providing financing options for such projects could give communities the opportunity to overcome cost hurdles and expedite access to necessary funding. Proposition 8 would create the Flood Infrastructure Fund outside of the general revenue fund to ensure that money in the fund was available to the Texas Water Development Board for the same purpose in future budget cycles.

Member Portal MLS Login Feedback