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Texas Transportation Funding Amendment, Proposition 1 (2014)

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Proposition 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Constitution:Texas Constitution
Referred by:Texas State Legislature
Topic:Transportation
Status:On the ballot
The Texas Transportation Funding Amendment, Proposition 1 is on the November 4, 2014 general election ballot in the state of Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment.

The measure would divert half of the general revenue derived from oil and gas taxes from the Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), also known as the Rainy Day Fund, and put it towards transportation funding for repairs and maintenance of public roads. It's anticipated that this will result in approximately $1.2 billion per year going toward transportation funding instead of the Rainy Day Fund.[1][2][3]

Text of measure

Ballot title

The official ballot title will appear as follows:[4]

The constitutional amendment providing for the use and dedication of certain money transferred to the state highway fund to assist in the completion of transportation construction, maintenance, and rehabilitation projects, not to include toll roads.[5]

Ballot language

The text of the measure will appear on the ballot as follows:[6]

TX2014measuretext.png

Background

Rainy Day Fund

The Economic Stabilization Fund (ESF), colloquially referred to as the Rainy Day Fund, was established by voters in 1988. The fund allows the state to save money and allocate excess revenue that can be used during times of financial stress. It can assist in balancing the budget, safeguard against unexpected economic downturns and prevent states from slipping into a deficit.[7]

If Proposition 1 is approved, it's estimated that the highway department will receive approximately $1.2 billion annually from oil and gas severance taxes. However, Proposition 1 may not be a complete solution, as the transportation agency requires at least an additional $4 billion per year.[8]

Enabling legislation

Proposition 1 was placed on the ballot via HJR 1. However, House Bill 1 was the enabling legislation for HJR 1. Enabling legislation is a bill passed into law by the Texas Legislature that authorizes an exemption for prior contracts or bids.[9] The goal of HB 1 is to protect the Rainy Day Fund by implementing a committee that is tasked with determining a "minimum balance" that must be maintained within the fund before any money can be allocated to roads and transportation funding. This proposed minimum balance must then be agreed upon by two-thirds of the Texas Legislature. If this proves to be impossible, the number proposed by the committee will be used. Under HB 1, the Texas Department of Transportation must identify $100 million worth of savings within the department to apply towards its debt. Read more about enabling legislation here.[8]

Support

The group Move Texas Forward supports the measure.[10] The measure was sponsored in the legislature by Rep. Joe Pickett (D-79).[11]

Path to the ballot

A two-thirds vote in both chambers of the Texas State Legislature was required to refer an amendment to the ballot. Texas is one of sixteen states that requires this.

See also

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Additional reading

References