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Texas voters approve all but one constitutional amendment

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Bethany Blankley

(The Center Square) – Texas voters approved all but one of the 14 constitutional amendments on the ballot, according to unofficial results posted by the Secretary of State’s Office.

With 98 percent of the counties reporting and over half of polling locations reporting, all amendments appeared to have passed except for Proposition 13, which sought to increase the mandatory age for retirement of state justices and judges.

The most consequential amendments for taxpayers that passed were 3, 4 and 9. They permanently ban a wealth tax, implement property tax reform measures and increase retired teachers' pensions.

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Proposition 3 prohibits “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.”

Proposition 4 increases the state's homestead exemption to $100,000, limits property tax increases on the elderly or disabled, creates a pilot program to implement a 20 percent appraisal cap on non-residential property, and creates three new elected positions for appraisal review boards in counties with populations over 75,000.

Proposition 9 provides a cost-of-living adjustment to increase retired teachers’ pensions.

Voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 1 to protect “the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”

They also passed Proposition 2 to subsidize child-care facilities by allowing some cities and counties to exempt them from paying some property taxes.

They overwhelmingly passed Proposition 5 to permanently provide additional funds to Texas State University, Texas Tech University, the University of Houston and the University of North Texas, which all have failing rankings for the extent to which they allow free speech on their campuses, according to a recent survey. Up to $100 million would be directed to these institutions from the state’s Rainy Day Fund in addition to funding they already receive through the general revenue fund.

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Voters also passed amendments to create four new billion-dollar funds. Proposition 6, 7, 8 and 14 create a $1 billion Texas Water Fund, a $5 billion Texas Energy Fund, a $1.5 billion broadband infrastructure fund, and a $1 billion Centennial Parks Conservation Fund, respectively.

Proposition 10 passed, which authorizes the legislature to provide tax exemptions on equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products. A legislative fiscal note projects the measure will result in $28.8 million in state revenue losses and $43.1 million in school district revenue losses in fiscal 2025.

Two amendments impacting two counties passed authorizes the legislature to allow certain districts in El Paso County to issue bonds and increase property taxes (Proposition 11) and to abolish the Galveston County Office of the Treasurer, as long as county voters concur (Proposition 12).

The race for House District 2 is also heading to a runoff between two Republicans: Jill Dutton, a former Van ISD school board member, and Brent Money, a former Greenville city councilman.

With all three counties in the district reporting, and 85 percent of polling locations reporting, Money had over 31 percent of the vote, and Dutton had nearly 26 percent in a six-candidate race, according to unofficial results late Tuesday night.

The seat became open in May after state Rep. Bryan Slaton, R-Royse City, was unanimously expelled by the Texas House of Representatives after having a sexual relationship with his 19-year-old intern.