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ESD taxes, statewide amendments up for vote

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ESD taxes, statewide amendments up for vote

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Ten state constitutional amendments are on the ballot for this November’s election, as well as one local proposition for the Elgin area.

Texas will hold an election on November 5 this year to allow voters to decide on constitutional amendments, fill vacant seats in the legislature and vote on local propositions. The deadline to register to vote in this election was Monday, October 7; early voting begins on October 21. To determine if you are registered to vote, find your polling location, view sample ballots and find details about the election, visit www.bastropvotes.org.

Locally, the Bastrop/Travis Counties Emergency Services District (ESD) #1 is calling an election to adopt a sales and use tax of up to two percent within the ESD’s boundaries but outside of the Elgin city limits. Voters within the ESD can cast their votes on this proposition in November.

The maximum sales and use tax in Texas is 8.25 percent, 6.25 of which goes towards the state. The remaining two percent can be used by other entities, such as cities, counties and other types of districts. For example, within the city limits of Elgin, the city collects 1.5 percent and Bastrop County collects 0.5 percent.

Ten state constitutional amendment propositions are also on the ballot this November, ranging from a prohibition on the legislature to create a state income tax to a law allowing the transfer of a law enforcement animal to a caretaker. The following information is from the list of explanatory statements by the Secretary of State; for more information, visit www.votetexas.gov.

Proposition 1: HJR 72 would allow an elected municipal judge to serve as a municipal judge in more than one municipality at the same time. Currently, appointed municipal judges are allowed to hold more than one municipal judge office at a time, but elected municipal judges are not.

Proposition 2: SJR 79 would authorize the Texas Water Development Board to issue additional general obligation bonds of an amount not exceeding $200. These bonds would be used to finance the development of water supply and sewer service projects in economically distressed areas.

Proposition 3: HJR 34 would allow the legislature to temporarily exempt a portion of certain property located in a declared disaster area from property taxes. The legislature would prescribe the method for determining the amount of the tax exemption and create any eligibility requirements.

Proposition 4: HJR 38 would prohibit the state from imposing or collecting individual income tax. Texas does not currently have a state income tax, but there is no constitutional prohibition on imposing or collecting an individual income tax.

Proposition 5: SJR 24 would automatically take the sales tax revenue received from the sales of sporting goods and give it to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission. The legislature would have the authority to determine the specific uses of the funds and how much would go to each entity.

Proposition 6: HJR 12 would increase the maximum bond amount for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) from $3 billion to $6 billion. CPRIT promotes and funds cancer research in Texas; bond proceeds are used to award grants for cancer research and prevention.

Proposition 7: HJR 151 would increase distributions from $300 million per year to $600 million to the available school fund. The State Board of Education, the General Land Office and other entities that manage revenue from land or other properties held in the permanent school fund would be able to distribute certain revenue to the available school fund.

Proposition 8: HJR 4 would use money from the economic stabilization fund to create a flood infrastructure fund as a special fund in the state treasury. This fund would provide resources to implement plans that would mitigate flood damage.

Proposition 9: HJR 95 would exempt property taxes for precious metals held in a precious metal depository located in Texas.

Proposition 10: SJR 32 allows a state agency or political subdivision to transfer a law enforcement animal to its handler or another qualified caretaker in certain circumstances, such as when the animal retires or if the transfer is in the animal’s best interest. Currently, the constitution does not allow the transfer of certain public property, such as law enforcement animals, to a private person at no cost.