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Texas Water Development Bonds, Proposition 16 (2007)

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Texas Constitution
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3 (1-43)3 (44-49)3 (50-67)
Texas Proposition 16 appeared on the November 6, 2007 in Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved.

Proposition 16 provides for the issuance of general bonds in an amount not to exceed $250 million to the Texas Water Development Board in economically distressed areas of Texas.[1]

Proposition 16 appeared on the statewide November 2007 ballot in Texas along with fifteen other statewide propositions; all of them passed. All sixteen ballot measures were legislative referrals voted onto the ballot by the Texas State Legislature.

Voter approval is required because the Texas Constitution forbids most state debt. In order for general-obligation bonds backed by the state's full faith and credit to be issued, the voters must first be consulted.

Three other bond issues were on the November 6, 2007 ballot. Voters approved all of them, approving altogether $6.75 billion in new debt.

Election results

Texas Proposition 16 (2007)
Approveda Yes 650,533 60.8%

Text of measure

The short ballot summary voters saw on their ballot read: "The constitutional amendment providing for the issuance of additional general obligation bonds by the Texas Water Development Board in an amount not to exceed $250 million to provide assistance to economically distressed areas."[2]

Newspaper endorsements

Austin Chronicle

  • "YES. If we're really lucky, a few more hapless colonias will get water and wastewater service. And the bloodsucking bankers will drink the interest."[3]

Dallas Morning Star

  • " We favor efforts to lift up colonias, and Proposition 16 is the best way to accomplish it."[4]


The Texas chapter of Americans for Prosperity has announced that it opposes all five proposed bond issues. According to Peggy Venable, director of the Texas group:[5]

"Every government bond is a delayed tax increase. Every dollar spent by government and every bond issued by government equates to a job lost or a paycheck cut in the private sector."

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.

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