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Texas Bonds for Construction Projects, Proposition 4 (2007)

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The Texas Bonds for Construction Projects Amendment, also known as Proposition 4, was on the November 6, 2007 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure authorized the issuance of up to $1 billion in bonds for maintenance, improvement, repair and construction projects and for the purchase of needed equipment.[1][2]

Election results

Texas Proposition 4 (2007)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 627,609 58.16%
No451,44041.84%

Election results via: Legislative Reference Library of Texas

Text of measure

The text of the measure can be read here.

Support

Supporters

Peter Holt, Chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission, wrote an editorial in the Statesman supporting the proposition and advocating that Austin voters support it.[3]

Republican State Senator, Steve Ogden also voiced his support of the measure saying, "This capital investment pays for important infrastructure, buildings, utilities and maintenance that are desperately needed across the state."[4]

Arguments

This would help to finance long-term projects, such as construction and repair. The $1 billion would not be allocated at once, but stretched out over a period of time. The largest portion, $273.4 million, would be dedicated to building three new prisons, which will need additional capacity in the next five years.

Opposition

Opponents

Scott Henson, from the Grits for Breakfast blog, said:[5]

It may be one place where Texas voters should tell their legislature, sorry, but no. Please go back to the drawing board — and if you want to build new prisons, be honest about it. Don’t sugar-coat it by lumping it into a catch-all bond proposal.

[6]

The Texas Criminal Justice Coalition also opposed Proposition 4. Ana Yanez-Correa, head of the coalition said, "If we're really serious about meeting public safety needs -- about meeting Texas' needs in general, let's not rely on debt."[7]

Arguments

Proposition 4 would give the legislature a blank check. Only $717 million of the bonds have been appropriated for projects which leaves nearly $300 million being spent with no voter input. Also, repairs should not be paid with general operating bonds. Repairs are a predictable cost that should be included in the agencies budget.

Opponents also believed that new jails should not be financed. The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) had 152,736 beds available combined with the large increases in resources for numerous prison diversion and treatment programs. These would be more cost efficient than building new prisons that would cost $18.9 million annually.

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.

See also

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External links

References


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