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Texas Buffer Areas for Military Installations, Proposition 1 (2009)

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The Texas Buffer Areas for Military Installations Amendment, also known as Proposition 1, was on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

Rep. Frank Corte, Jr. co-authored the house bill that would allow a county government to issue bonds to acquire land that is adjacent to military bases. The bill, sponsored by Senator Jeff Wentworth, would authorize city and county financing to buy buffer areas near military installations to prevent encroachment or to construct roadways, utilities or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation.[1][2][3][4]

Election results

Texas Proposition 1 (2009)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 580,030 55.20%
No470,74644.80%

Election results via: Legislative Reference Library of Texas

Text of measure

Ballot title

End of Fort Bliss Military Installation in El Paso, Texas

The short ballot summary Texas voters saw on their ballot read as:[5]

The constitutional amendment authorizing the financing, including through tax increment financing, of the acquisition by municipalities and counties of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation.

[6]

Full text

The full text of the measure can be read here.

Constitutional changes

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

Proposition 1 amended Article 3 of the Texas Constitution by adding a new section, Section 52k, that says:[7]

The legislature by general law may authorize a municipality or county to issue bonds or notes to finance the acquisition of buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to a military installation for the prevention of encroachment or for the construction of roadways, utilities, or other infrastructure to protect or promote the mission of the military installation. The municipality or county may pledge increases in ad valorem tax revenues imposed in the area by the municipality, county, or other political subdivisions for repayment of the bonds or notes.

Support

See also: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2009

The Naval Air Station Regional Coordination Committee went on record to endorse Proposition 1, arguing that the measure is not an excuse for military bases to remove homes for the benefit of a military base. Paul Paine, chairman of the committee, who is also a former base commander, stated: "I want to be clear: Nobody is saying, 'We want to go after those homes, buy them out and have them moved.’ What we’re trying to do is educate municipalities to think about land use in terms of what that existing or future development means to the base."[8]

Campaign contributions

No committees or contributions to campaigns in favor of Proposition 1 were reported.[9]

Opposition

According to the House Research Organization, a bipartisan research group in the state, opponents of the measure stated that Proposition 1 allowed local governments to increase taxes. As a result, the increased taxes imposes a burden to property owners. The organization refers to a “buffer zone” that would be acquired if the amendment is passed in the November election. The buffer zone would pave the way for land to go off tax rolls and would stunt the growth of developing areas in the state.[10]

The National Taxpayers Union was opposed to Proposition 1. The organization, as well as other limited government advocates, argued that this funding mechanism is burdensome to taxpayers and will pave the way for higher taxes. The measure was included in NTU's 2009 General Election Ballot Guide.

Campaign contributions

No committees or contributions to campaigns in opposition to Proposition 1 were reported.[9]

Media editorial positions

Support

  • The El Paso Times said, "This amendment would allow local governments to issue bonds or notes for purchase of land adjacent to military installations, with the land to be used in ways to protect or promote the military mission. Care would have to be taken to ensure that governments didn't use this power to unnecessarily raise property taxes, particularly in these tough economic times," said the board.[11]
  • The Star-Telegram said, "Relations between a military base and its surrounding community can be love-hate, especially when high-performance jets rattle windows during takeoffs or landings...Voter approval would give cities and counties another tool to encourage compatible land use: the ability to issue bonds and notes to buy buffer areas or open spaces adjacent to bases."[12]

Opposition

  • The Austin Chronicle said, "We've had quite enough of state-subsidized militarism (and the Lege didn't even bother to authorize the bonds). Let the bases rub up against the neighborhoods where they live," said the editorial board.[13]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas

The Texas House of Representatives approved the proposed amendment on May 11, 2009 with a vote of 137-3, followed by the Senate on May 27, 2009 with a vote of 31-0.[7]

As laid out in Article 17 of the Texas Constitution, in order for a proposed constitutional amendment to be placed on the ballot, the Texas State Legislature must propose the amendment in a joint resolution of both the Texas State Senate and the Texas House of Representatives. The joint resolution can originate in either the House or the Senate. The resolution must be adopted by a vote of at least two-thirds of the membership of each house of the legislature. That amounts to a minimum of 100 votes in the House of Representatives and 21 votes in the Senate.

See also

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References


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