Nov 8, 2023 - News

Most Texas constitutional amendments approved in November election

Illustration of a pen filling in a ballot checkbox in the shape of a house.

Illustration: Allie Carl/Axios

Texas voters approved all but one of 14 constitutional amendments, including a massive property tax package intended to cut taxes for homes by increasing the school district homestead exemption.

The big picture: The propositions ranged from infrastructure improvements to farming rights.

Context: Because Texas doesn't have an income tax, its public institutions mainly rely on sales taxes and property taxes.

How it works: Proposition 4, approved by 83% of voters, will increase the school district homestead exemption from $40,000 to $100,000 and authorize the Legislature to temporarily limit the maximum appraised value of residential and commercial properties.

  • The state plans to pay school districts billions of dollars to help cover the difference in funding that would come from property taxes.
  • The owner of a home appraised at $340,000 under the average school tax rate would have spent $940 less in property taxes if the ballot measure were in place last year, per the Texas Tribune.
  • Texas teachers had opposed the measure, saying it will "remove a constitutional source of future dedicated funding for public school."

What they're saying: "Congratulations Texans! You voted yourself an $18 Billion property tax cut. The largest in Texas history," Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted.

Zoom out: Voters also overwhelmingly approved a new parks conservation fund for creating and improving state parks, a pension boost for retired educators, expanded high-speed broadband access and water infrastructure improvements.

  • A proposition that will prohibit the creation of a wealth tax in the future also passed.

Yes, but: Voters rejected Proposition 13, which would have increased the mandatory retirement age for state justices and judges, with 63% of the vote against the measure.

Zoom in: Several North Texas school districts — including Lewisville ISD, Cedar Hill ISD and Hurst-Euless-Bedford ISD — got approval from voters on bond packages for infrastructure and building improvements through property tax increases.

Meanwhile: Count popular Fort Worth Mayor Mattie Parker out of the upcoming race to replace U.S. Rep. Kay Granger, who announced recently that she will retire next year.

  • "Press Release: I am not running for Congress. The End," Parker wrote on X yesterday.

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