Monday, October 29, 2007

Ballot Recommendations -Update

You can read about the election going on now here with directions on where to vote and other people's take on the ballot.

Here are my thoughts. I have borrowed from Kuffner for the format.

Proposition 1:
Correcting the Constitution to list Angelo State University as part of the Texas Tech system.

My vote: Skip.
Let the people who are concerned about the issue decide what college system Angelo State should be part of.

Proposition 2:
Authorizing $500 million in additional state bonds for college student loans.

My vote: Yes.
Educational loans are the only bonds I support at a time of budget surpluses.

Proposition 3:
Clarifying that the appraised value of a homestead for property taxes cannot increase by more than 10% in any year, even if more than a year has passed since the home was last appraised.

My vote: Yes.
although this is meaningless for the great majority of people in Texas whose property gets appraised every year.

Proposition 4:
Authorizing $1 billion in additional state bonds for prisons, DPS, mental health facilities and other state projects.

My vote: No.
There are good projects mixed with bad and the both could have been funded without bonds.

Proposition 5:
Allowing small towns to grant tax breaks for downtown development if approved by local voters.

My vote: Yes.
Many smaller Texas towns are becoming ghost towns downtown. This will be abused but will help with the problem.

Proposition 6:
Exempting motor vehicles used in business from property tax if they are also used for personal purposes.

My vote: No.
Tax breaks for those who can most afford taxes means those who can least afford it pay more.

Proposition 7:
Allowing property that was sold to the government through eminent domain to be bought back by the seller at the original sales price if the government does not use the property.

My vote: No.
This grant is too unrestricted and could easily be abused.

Proposition 8:
Changing the consumer protections for home equity loans.

My vote: No.
I've looked and looked and there is screwy wording in this legislation which seems to me to be aimed at protecting lending institutions and not consumers. Oral applications and blanks in the contracts are still acceptable, as are high fees.

Proposition 9:
Exempting totally disabled veterans from property taxes.

My vote: No.
There was no limitation on this. What do you want to bet some millionaires transfer conditional title to estates to disabled vets to avoid taxes? Disabled vets already receive property tax breaks, this makes them unlimited.

Proposition 10:
Abolishing the office of inspector of hides and animals

My vote: Yes.

Proposition 11:
Requiring how each legislator voted on the final vote on most legislative bills to be recorded and posted on the Internet

My vote: Yes
. All votes should be recorded, with video cameras as well. I want to watch the money change hands.

Proposition 12:
Authorizing $5 billion in additional state bonds for highways.

My vote: NO.
Texas has the most powerful highway construction lobby in the country and seems to spend more on these state roads than people. McBlogger points out that they haven't even issued the last $3 billion bond issue yet.

Proposition 13:
Allowing judges to deny bail to defendants in family violence cases who violate certain conditions of their initial release on bail.

My vote: No.
I dislike this whittling away of civil rights. This allows judges to keep people in jail who have never been convicted of a crime.

Proposition 14:
Allowing judges to serve their entire term of office even if they reach the mandatory retirement age of 75 while serving.

My vote: No.
This keeps old judges in office. I don't want these 75-year-old geezers getting another extension. In the one case I can find that this currently applies to I don't want that cranky judge.

Proposition 15:
Authorizing $3 billion in bonds for a new program to fund cancer research.

My vote: NO.
I don't want Perry's friends deciding what places get state bond money, even for cancer research. What do you want to bet that medical facilities, doctors and scientists suddenly start becoming political donors to get these funds? Why only research, why not cancer care?

Proposition 16:
Authorizing $250 million in additional state bonds for water and sewers in existing subdivisions that were developed with inadequate facilities.

My vote: No.
McBlogger also points out that the state should have required developers to put in water and sewer systems, not come to taxpayers to put them in afterwards.

Summary: YES on 2, 3, 5, 10 and 11. I would not feel too sad if all were defeated.

Harris County bond issues.

Yes on the parks, medical examiners office and the port. No on the others. The Port is borderline Yes, can't it finance these improvements itself, albeit through privatization of facilities or other means? Privatization and other means are worse in regards to corruption than this bond issue. The roads are borderline No. Roads need improvement, but a regional mobility plan needs to be offered to the voters. Update, I am getting arguments that 1) the jail is not just an expansion but needed improvements for the public, 2) I am condemning us to crappier roads and 3) that the family law court is really needed. Your mileage may vary.

Summary: YES, 2, 4 and 6, Maybe on the others.


My vote: Yes
, if I lived in HISD. If you vote no it simply means it comes back next year in a different form which is also OK.

UPDATE - Texas Progressive Alliance Blog Round Up: Amendments, Elections, & Endorsements For The November 6 Ballot. I will send you to Vince rather than repost this.

Sharon now has David Van Os on the Texas amendments. He has a number of disagreements with me. These amendments are controversial and good people can disagree.

The Houston Chronicle hasn't had much to say about the elections at all. If they add anything it will be here. Update - I found Clay Robison's report on the amendments. The Chron has also just come out urging a YES vote on all amendments and bonds.

1 comment:

Robert Nagle said...

good, btw, I'm going to cc your list to friends and family. very helpful and moderate. the cancer is probably the only controversial position here, and actually your point is good.