By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

HOUSTON COUNTY – Area voters will have a chance to voice their opinions on seven amendments to the Texas Constitution on Tuesday, Nov. 7. Latexo residents will also have a decision to make concerning a school Tax Ratification Election and Houston County Hospital District (HCHD) residents will be asked to decide whether to uncap the current tax rate of 15 cents per $100 of property valuation.

Early voting gets underway on Monday, Oct. 23 and runs until Friday, Nov. 3. The Texas Secretary of State’s office indicates early voting “is on track to significantly outpace turnout in recent (constitutional amendment) elections.”

The proposed amendments are as follows:

  • Proposition One: The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of part of the market value of the residence homestead of a partially disabled veteran or the surviving spouse of a partially disabled veteran if the residence homestead was donated to the disabled veteran by a charitable organization for less than the market value of the residence homestead and harmonizing certain related provisions of the Texas Constitution.
  • Proposition Two: The constitutional amendment to establish a lower amount for expenses that can be charged to a borrower and removing certain financing expense limitations for a home equity loan, establishing certain authorized lenders to make a home equity loan, changing certain options for the refinancing of home equity loans, changing the threshold for an advance of a home equity line of credit, and allowing home equity loans on agricultural homesteads.
  • Proposition Three: “The constitutional amendment limiting the service of certain officeholders appointed by the governor and confirmed by the senate after the expiration of the person’s term of office.
  • Proposition Four: The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to require a court to provide notice to the attorney general of a challenge to the constitutionality of a state statute and authorizing the legislature to prescribe a waiting period before the court may enter a judgment holding the statute unconstitutional.
  • Proposition Five: The constitutional amendment on professional sports team charitable foundations conducting charitable raffles.
  • Proposition Six: The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a first responder who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.
  • Proposition Seven: The constitutional amendment relating to legislative authority to permit credit unions and other financial institutions to award prizes by lot to promote savings.

The LISD TRE is “… a special election, called by the Board of Trustees, asking the voters to approve a Maintenance and Operations tax rate that is above the $1.04 that is allowed by the state,” according to the LISD website.

The ballot initiative states: Approving the ad valorem tax rate of $1.2040 per $100 of valuation in Latexo Independent School District for the current yea, a rate that is $0.00 higher per $100 valuation than the school district rollback tax rate.

HCHD Residents will also be asked to decide if they want to uncap the 15 cent maximum tax rate set forth in the bylaws of the organization.

The ballot proposal will eliminate the current 15 cent cap and revert to the general state law, which provides that hospital districts in Texas may set a tax rate between one and 75 cents per $100 of property valuation.

The ballot initiative states: The increase by the Houston County Hospital District of the maximum rate of annual taxes imposed for hospital district purposes to a rate not to exceed 75 cents on each $100 of property valuation of all taxable property in the district.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.