Texas Tax Exemptions in Harris County, Proposition 3 (2001)
The Texas Tax Exemptions in Harris County Amendment, also known as Proposition 3, was on the November 6, 2001 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure exempted raw cocoa and green coffee held in Harris County from ad valorem taxes.
|Texas Proposition 3 (2001)|
Election results via: Legislative Reference Library of Texas
Text of measure
The ballot title voters saw on their ballot read as:
|“||The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation raw cocoa and green coffee that is held in Harris County.||”|
The full text of the measure can be read here.
Proposition 3 amended Section 1-n of Article 8 of the Texas Constitution.
The state government provided an explanation of Proposition 3 which read as follows:
|“||Section 1, Article VIII, Texas Constitution, provides that all real
property and tangible personal property, unless exempt as required or permitted by the constitution, shall be taxed according to its value. Any exemption from ad valorem taxation not authorized by the Texas Constitution is void; neither the legislature nor a local government imposing ad valorem taxes may exempt any property from ad valorem taxation without constitutional authority. A business’s inventory of raw cocoa or green coffee is tangible personal property. Because the Texas Constitution does not currently require or permit an exemption for that property, it is subject to ad valorem taxation.
Currently, there are only three coffee exchange ports recognized by the New York Board of Trade in the United States: New York, Miami, and New Orleans. Commodities held at a designated exchange port may be traded at the New York Board of Trade. The Greater Houston Coffee Association has sought to make Harris County a coffee exchange port, but the New York Board of Trade will not consider the association’s application unless both green coffee and raw cocoa are exempted from ad22 valorem taxation. Since the constitution does not currently permit coffee and cocoa to be exempted from ad valorem taxation by statute, a constitutional amendment is necessary.
The proposed amendment would authorize the legislature by general law to exempt from ad valorem taxation raw cocoa and green coffee that is held in Harris County and would authorize the legislature to impose additional requirements for qualification for an exemption. Concurrently with proposing the constitutional amendment, the 77th Legislature enacted Senate Bill No. 1574 as the enabling legislation for the amendment. The bill would amend the Tax Code by adding Section 11.33 to provide that a person is entitled to an exemption from taxation of raw cocoa and green coffee that the person holds in Harris County. Under Section 11.33, Tax Code, once the exemption was allowed, the person would not be required to continue to claim it in subsequent years in order to receive it, but the chief appraiser may require the person to file a new application in a subsequent year to confirm the cocoa’s or coffee’s current qualification for the exemption. If the constitutional amendment is approved by the voters, the exemption provided by Section 11.33 will become available beginning January 1, 2002. 
Path to the ballot
- See also: Laws governing direct democracy in Texas
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.
- Texas 2001 ballot measures
- 2001 ballot measures
- List of Texas ballot measures
- History of direct democracy in Texas
- Legislative Reference Library of Texas, "Constitutional amendment election dates," accessed January 14, 2015
- Texas Legislative Council, "Amendments to the Texas Constitution Since 1876," accessed January 14, 2015
- Texas Legislative Council, "Analyses of Proposed Constitutional Amendments: November 6, 2001, Election," September 2001
- Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
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