Early voting starts next Monday, Oct. 21; vote against Proposition 4

The presidential election isn’t here yet, but there are some important decisions for voters to make on the Nov. 5 ballot, and early voting will begin Monday. The statewide ballot will include 10 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution, including Proposition 4 that, if adopted, could have a devastating effect on future education funding.

TSTA issued a news release this week, urging Texans to vote against Proposition 4.

“Proposition 4 is bad for public education,” TSTA President Noel Candelaria said. “It purports to ban a personal income tax in Texas. It doesn’t. But if adopted, it would remove from the state constitution a guarantee that any revenue raised by an income tax be dedicated to improving education funding.”

“The Texas Constitution already has a high bar against an income tax. A provision adopted in 1993 prohibits an income tax without the approval of voters,” Candelaria added. “That same provision, the so-called Bullock amendment, also provides that at least two-thirds of the revenue from an income tax be dedicated to reducing school property taxes and the remainder to increasing education funding. Proposition 4 would wipe out that guarantee.”

Were Proposition 4 to win voter approval, a future Legislature could still approve an income tax on a two-thirds vote, but lawmakers wouldn’t be required to spend the new revenue on property tax relief or education.

Because of the way Proposition 4 is worded, business groups also could seek court rulings exempting corporations from having to pay billions in state franchise taxes, which are an important source of current funding for education and other state needs. Here is an Austin American-Statesman editorial explaining that problem.

TSTA supports Proposition 7, which would allow the General Land Office to double from $300 million to $600 million the amount of revenue it could donate each year from state-owned land or properties to the Available School Fund for distribution among school districts. This would be an important new boost to public education funding.

Here is more information on both propositions.

In addition to the constitutional amendments election, some school districts will have board elections on the Nov. 5 ballot. And there will be three special elections to fill vacancies in the Texas House of Representatives in District 28 in Fort Bend County, District 148 in Houston and District 100 in Dallas.

Early voting will end Nov. 1.