Texas Survivor of Veterans Homestead Tax Amendment, Proposition 1 (2011)

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Proposition 1
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Referred by:Texas Legislature
Topic:Taxes
Status:Approved Approveda
The Texas Survivor of Veterans Homestead Tax Amendment, Proposition 1 appeared on the November 8, 2011 general election ballot in the state of Texas as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. Approveda

Proposition 1 allowed the legislature to grant surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans an valorem tax exemption on their principal residences.

The authors of the measure were Leticia Van de Putte, Wendy Davis, Bob Deuell, Rodney Ellis, Juan Hinojosa, Eddie Lucio, Jose R. Rodriguez, Carlos Uresti, Kirk Watson, Judith Zaffirini. The formal title of the bill is Senate Joint Resolution 14.[1]

Election results

See also: 2011 ballot measure election results
Texas Proposition 1
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 568,959 82.88%
No117,52017.11%

Text of measure

Ballot summary

The ballot text read:

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for an exemption from ad valorem taxation of all or part of the market value of the residence homestead of the surviving spouse of a 100 percent or totally disabled veteran.[2][3]

Constitutional changes

See also: Texas Proposition 1 (2011), constitutional text changes

Proposition 1 amended Section 1-b of Article 8 of the Texas Constitution.

Fiscal note

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The Texas Legislative Budget Board issued a fiscal note about SJR 14 to the Senate Committee on Finance on March 19, 2011.[4]

According to the fiscal note:

  • "No fiscal implication to the State is anticipated, other than the cost of publication."
  • "The cost to the state for publication of the resolution is $105,495."
  • "No fiscal implication to units of local government is anticipated."[4]

Support

Supporters

Arguments

Supporters of SJR 14 said:

  • This amendment transfers the existing homestead property tax exemption of 100 percent or totally disabled veterans to their surviving spouse upon the disabled veteran's death. Under current law surviving spouses are handed an unexpected property tax bill upon losing their husband or wife. This amendment would give peace of mind to our disabled veterans in removing an unneeded financial hardship on the surviving family triggered upon their death.[6]
  • This is important recognition of the sacrifice of veterans would cost less than $10 million a year statewide.[7]
  • Empower Texans, a limited-government advocacy organization, supported Proposition 1. In an October 7, 2011 post they explained their reasoning: "While the state should look to phase out the property tax system and move to a more equitable system like the sales tax, this amendment provides relief to the dependents of our military veterans who have sacrificed so much for our nation."[8]
  • Texas Eagle Forum, a conservative and pro-family advocacy organization, supported Proposition 1. In an October 7th, 2011 post they explained their reasoning: "This would give further recognition of the sacrifices made by veterans and their families."[9]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

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Opposition

Opponents

  • We Texans [5]
  • North Texas Tea Party[5]
  • Clear Lake Tea Party[5]
  • Tyler Tea Party[5]

Arguments

Opponents of SJR 14 said:

  • We should not be granting revenue reducing tax exemptions at a time when the state is experiencing serious budget shortfalls and is unable to fully fund critical services.[6]
  • The exemption continues if the surviving spouse remarries as long as he/she was not remarried at the time of initially qualifying for the exemption. The exemption should end when the surviving spouse remarries, regardless of previous qualifications.[6]
  • We should not, on principle, be handing out tax exemptions to certain groups. The benefits realized by the receiving group must be offset and paid for by everyone else. All of these individual tax exemptions add up to a serious cost to the state at a time when budgets are already at starvation levels. Instead of passing new exemptions, we should be reversing the trend.

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, there were no registered committees (PACs).

(last updated December 2011)

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Texas ballot measures, 2011

Support

  • The Conroe Courier of Montgomery County supported Prop 1. In a October 22, 2011 editorial the Conroe Courier of Montgomery County said, "We support Proposition 1. It recognizes the sacrifices of the veterans who served our country, as well as their spouses, who also endured so much, especially during times of war.".[10]
  • The Lufkin News said, "Despite critics who claim local taxing entities need all the revenue they can get, this proposition is makes sense and offers some relief for those who were loyal to their disabled, veteran spouses. We recommend a vote for Proposition 1."[11]
  • The San Antonio Express-News said, "Under current law, however, the 100 percent exemption does not transfer to surviving spouses. Proposition 1, authored by Sen. Leticia Van de Putte, D-San Antonio, gives surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans the same continued benefits as those of partially disabled veterans. We urge voters to cast their ballots in favor of this measure."[12]
  • The Dallas Morning News said, "This newspaper recommends that voters approve this proposition. Totally disabled veterans, who represent only a tiny percentage of all veterans, have disabilities so severe that they cannot get work. The challenges of caring for a totally disabled veteran — someone who, for example, might have lost multiple limbs — can be substantial. The spouse certainly doesn’t need a big property tax bill on top of all the other challenges accompanying the loss of a loved one."[13]
  • The Austin Chronicle said, "Although we have traditionally opposed blanket exemptions as inevitably narrowing the common tax base, this one seems hard to object to – granted to the veteran, it should survive to his spouse and is limited to do only that."[14]
  • The Corpus Christi Caller-Times said, "The Caller-Times Editorial Board recommends approval of all 10, and urges that all registered voters exercise their right to vote...Proposition 1...Arguments against (increased tax burden on other property owners, already insufficient tax revenue) aren't worth making."[15]
  • The El Paso Times said, "This is helping out the surviving spouses of those who have sacrificed for their country and who themselves have sacrificed. Being so close to Fort Bliss, we are especially sensitive to the sacrifices made by our service members and their spouses. Also, it will have a negligible effect when it comes to property taxes lost to local governments."[16]
  • The Statesman said, "Ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution are on the ballot for your approval or disapproval. We recommend you vote for all 10."[17]
  • The Star-Telegram supported Prop 1.[18]

Opposition

  • The Burka Blog, written by senior editor for the Texas Monthly Paul Burka, opposed Proposition 1. In an October 18, 2011 post he stated, "I don’t suppose that a no vote is going to break the bank, and if anyone is deserving, it is the surviving spouse of a totally disabled veteran. Still, it continues the long legislative tradition of giving tax breaks that undermine the fiscal condition of the state. At some point, the Legislature has to stop handing out tax exemptions. I am going to vote no, on principle."[19]

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 is required to 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.

The measure was passed by the Texas State Legislature on May 26, 2011, and was filed with the Texas Secretary of State on May 27, 2011. SJR 14 passed the Texas State Senate by a vote of 31-0 and passed the Texas House of Representatives by a vote of 143-0.[20][21]

Timeline

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The following is a timeline of events surrounding the measure:

Event Date Developments
House vote May 26, 2011 House voted 143-0 in favor of the proposed measure
Senate vote May 26, 2011 Senate voted 31-0 in favor of the proposed measure
Certified May 27, 2011 Measure received by the Secretary of State for the 2011 ballot

See also

By Jimmy Ardis
Texas state writer

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Articles

External links

References

  1. Texas Legislature, "SJR 14", Retrieved May 31, 2011
  2. Texas Secretary of State, "Explanatory Statements for the November 8, 2011 Texas Constitutional Amendment Election"
  3. Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fiscal Note on SRJ 14 prepared by the Texas Legislative Budget Board
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 North Texas Tea Party, "Vote on the Constitutional Amendments; Now – TUESDAY Nov. 8th", Vote on the Constitutional Amendments; Now – TUESDAY Nov. 8th", October 25, 2011
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 Texas House Research Organization: "Focus Report for Amendments Proposed in November 8, 2011 Election"
  7. Representative Scott Hochberg, "Proposition 1", Accessed October 7, 2011
  8. Empower Texans", "2011 Constitutional Amendments", October 7, 2011
  9. Texas Eagle Forum, "Analysis of Propositions on November 8th 2011 Ballott", October 7, 2011
  10. Conroe Courier of Montgomery County, "Vote against Props 7 and 8 on Nov. 8 ballot", October 22, 2011
  11. The Lufkin Daily News,"EDITORIAL: Our review and our recommendations on amendments to our state constitution," October 25, 2011
  12. San Antonio Express-News,"Proposition 1 will ease burden on disabled veterans," October 8, 2011
  13. Dallas Morning News,"Editorial: We recommend approval of Prop. 1 ," October 10, 2011
  14. Austin Chronicle,"'Chronicle' Endorsements and Election Info," October 21, 2011
  15. Caller-Times,"10 unexciting but worthwhile reasons to vote," October 24, 2011
  16. El Paso Times,"Propositions: Amendments would affect El Paso," October 22, 2011
  17. Statesman,"Voters, approve all 10 constitutional changes," November 1, 2011
  18. Star-Telegram,"Texas Constitution needs more attention," November 6, 2011
  19. Burka Blog, "The proposed Texas Constitutional Amendments", October 18, 2011
  20. Texas State Senate Journal: 82nd Legislature, May 12, 2011
  21. Texas House Journal: 82nd Legislature, May 24, 2011