Texas Single Board of Equalization, Proposition 5 (2009)

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The Texas Single Board of Equalization Amendment, also known as Proposition 5, was on the November 3, 2009 ballot in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

The measure authorized the legislature to establish a board of equalization for adjoining appraisal units. The board of equalization is a public agency responsible for the tax administration and fee collection of adjoining appraisal districts, as defined by the tax code. According to the proposed amendment, no members of that board may be elected officials of a county "of a taxing unit." The bill was authored by Representives John Otto (R-18), Ryan Guillen (D-31) and Patrick Rose (D-45) and sponsored by Sens. Tommy Williams (R-4) and Dan Patrick (R-7).[1][2]

Election results

Texas Proposition 5 (2009)
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 631,365 61.81%
No390,08038.19%

Election Results via: Texas Secretary of State

Text of measure

Ballot summary

The ballot summary read as:[2]

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations.[3]

Constitutional changes

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

The measure amended Section 18(c) of Article 8 of the Texas Constitution to read as follows:[4]

Section 18. Equalization of Valuations; Single Appraisal
The Legislature, by general law, shall provide for a single board of equalization for each appraisal entity consisting of qualified persons residing within the territory appraised by that entity. The Legislature, by general law, may authorize a single board of equalization for two or more adjoining appraisal entities that elect to provide for consolidated equalizations. Members of the a board of equalization may not be elected officials of a county or of the a governing body of a taxing unit.

Support

Supporters of the amendment stated that the benefits of enacting the measure included a more efficient operation of government with a consolidated appraisal review board than separate boards. According to a review by the Lake County Sun, supporters stated that counties that were not highly populated, under previous procedures, found it hard to secure qualified candidates to sit on their appraisal review boards.[5]

The National Taxpayers Union supported Proposition 5 because they argued that it would streamline the process for property taxes that reside on the border of two jurisdictions. NTU gave it a positive rating in their 2009 General Election Ballot Guide.

No committees or contributions to campaigns in support of Proposition 5 were reported.[6]

Opposition

Those against the measure stated that residents of an appraisal district should be the ones to decide appeals of appraisals. According to those who opposed the measure, local review boards were familiar with their area and the components that make up their economy, thus making passage of the amendment unnecessary. Candidates from other counties who are unfamiliar with the economic aspects of the area they are injected in may disrupt local issues, said opponents.

No committees or contributions to campaigns in opposition to Proposition 5 were reported.[6]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2009

Support

  • Houston Chronicle said, “[Proposition 5] is designed primarily to assist less populated areas around the state where finding qualified people to handle the appraisal process is sometimes a problem. It is written to be “permissive,” which means a larger entity cannot force a smaller one to participate without its consent. We encourage passage of Propositions 2, 3 and 5.”[7]

Opposition

  • Fort Worth Star-Telegram said, "This is an example of how the Texas Constitution gets bound up in pointless change. Prop 5 would allow appraisal districts in adjacent counties to have consolidated appraisal review boards to handle property-owner appeals. Adjacent counties can already consolidate their appraisal districts and thus their appraisal review boards. The argument for this amendment is that some counties have trouble recruiting qualified review board members. If that’s true, it would also be true of recruiting qualified appraisal district staff. Consolidation as already allowed makes sense. Prop 5 is a solution searching for a problem."[8]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Texas Constitution

The Texas House of Representatives approved the proposed amendment on April 27, 2009 with a vote of 142-0, followed by the State Senate on May 26, 2009 with a vote of 31-0.[9] 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