The 2023 Texas Constitutional Amendments we will be voting on soon are not a hot topic. This is sad but it is where we are at as a nation. Far too many people do not see themselves as the “owner operators” and even more do not read the “owner’s manuals” to the constitution for
If there is a bright spot to this, the people that do pay attention and vote, have a far larger impact.
This is how I will be voting on these. Reasonable people can disagree, so I encourage you to look at them yourself, spend some time thinking through them and come to your own decisions. More than anything else this article is intended to get you to the polls and to realize just how vital your choices are to the state of Texas, as well as this nation.
I have not done a deep dive into these amendments as we have been focused on. I will give you my impressions so here we go.
1-(HJR 126) This is a "feel good" thing. Nothing wrong with it but anything added can be subtracted so if voters/politicos ever really want this it can be reversed. The government can still take your land and they can still pass laws restricting what you can do in the interest of “public safety.”
"Yes" because it does no harm, but they ignored religious rights to worship, so they can ignore any rights when it suits them.
2-(SJR64) Lower taxes. which is good but is targeted to one industry which means the businesses on either side pay their share plus their neighbor's share.
"No" because it should just be a lower tax rate for all, not a free ride for some.
3-(HJR132) Another “Feel good” thing. It can be removed with another constitutional amendment next cycle if the voters agree and it does not stop a federal push for this type of tax. I will vote “yes” but this sort of thing clutters our state constitution making it harder to read and understand.
4-(HJR2) Raises homestead exemption and allows the state to spend more on schools. "Yes" because it is a broad tax relief measure. It does transfer more purse string control from local to state level, but that cat is already out of the bag and if you really want "ISDs" then you would have to go to private schools, no public school has any real level of independence from the state.
5-(HJR3) Renames a fund and allows use of additional funds for it. Combining these two makes me think you should look closer at why the interest from an "economic stabilization fund" should go to colleges. A&M just paid a person who turned down a job over a million dollars. If “Republicans” would allow state colleges to charge “out of state” tuition to illegal aliens, maybe they would not need a “special fund” that was created for another purpose. This is an easy one, I will be voting no.
6-(SJR75) Finances water projects. I am conflicted, while water projects are a government function this change allows for a LOT of freedom in putting money in and taking money out for all sorts of things. It might serve as a slush fund for things we do not want to spend money on. At the same time, it would consolidate and make it easier to do water projects. Yes, I can understand a person voting against it and I might change my mind before casting my vote.
7-(SJR93) Texas Energy Fund. Why is the state funding this? Our government has subsidized wind and solar to the point it has put reliable energy production in the red or forced them out of business. The feds have announced that coal is out; that oil and natural gas are next within 10 years or so. Then the feds demand upgrades to reliable generation plants that would have to be financed over more than 10 years. It has gotten so bad that the taxpayers on top of building solar and wind, now must build natural gas plants for backup and those must meet the new standard. We pay with our taxes to build both infrastructures, we subsidize with our tax dollars the operation of both systems and we pay higher rates in our bill to operate two systems when we can only use one at a time. The government created sky high cost of electricity and this wilI drive even more factories overseas. I hate to vote for this garbage but if we do not, more Texans will die. Yes
8-(HJR125) Broadband Fund. Not the government's monkey or circus, this is private business and if there is not the demand then it makes no sense to fund it. "No" and I live in East Texas with limited availability.
9-(HJR2) The Teachers Retirement Fund is the largest pool of money in Texas. It is almost completely invested in one insurance company headquartered in AUSTIN. That insurance company is one of the top donors to both parties. The teacher’s retirement fund should have been invested in something besides the 100% safe annuities that paid below inflation rates but now, after the "insurance company" reaped the billions between a real market return and what they paid the teachers, these teachers are getting the short end of the stick. The obvious solution to the politicians is that taxpayers are on the hook.
"No" maybe we should find out why people that have been "investing" in retirement for over twenty years cannot live on the returns. If we do not, expect to see this every couple of years as inflation exposes what all those campaign donations from this insurance company actually cost the teachers and the taxpayers.
10-(SJR87) This lowers taxes on medical equipment manufacturers but everyone else will end up paying their taxes plus any taxes these people do not pay. Lower property taxes are great but not for one person out of a hundred so the other 99 get stuck with the bill. “No”
11-(SJR32) Allows more debt and higher taxes for parks in El Paso. "No" if they are too broke to afford this, they are too broke to borrow for it and pay the interest.
12-(HJR134) Allows Galveston County to get rid of the elected County Treasurer’s office and replace them with an employee not answerable to the voters. There are 254 counties in Texas; they should be set up the same way with strong separation of powers. I have seen elected treasurers refuse to spend money on questionable things that the County Judge wanted. I doubt Galveston County will ever see a hired hand stand up to their boss but if they do the next employee probably will not. “No”
13-(HJR107) Increases the mandatory retirement age of Texas judges to 79, up from 75. Really? We are seeing people literally be wheeled into the Senate and told how to vote. We are seeing a President shaking hands with invisible people and falling upstairs. Is it vital to allow people to serve even more time as a public servant? I know there are judges out there that are over 75 and sharper than I, but then again, there are judges out there that should have retired years ago that have not even hit 75. “No”
14(SJR74) This is a “special fund” to make state parks better. Sorry, we already fund state parks and if we need even more money to make them better, I would rather look at the people running them and see if we can get better results with personnel changes as opposed to even more money being thrown at the problem. “No”
Hope this helps, if you have additional questions, you know how to reach me.