top of page
  • LIV

The Good, the Bad, and the Crap on Your Ballot

Updated: Oct 31, 2023

Picture of emoji with international no symbol
Send a "no crap" message to the Lege on Prop 3.

Early Voting, Monday, October 23 - Friday, November 3 Election Day, Tuesday, November 7

LIV has adopted Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance’s “No on Prop 1” and written our own in-depth review of Prop 6.

We also wrote something we hope you enjoy about the rank opportunism involved in Prop 3 (Vote No, Hell No) sponsored by Sen. Bryan Hughes. It never should have made it to your ballot.

LIV’s Board also reviewed these resources to better understand all 14 constitutional amendments on the ballot.

LIV Recommendations:

Prop 1 - No

Prop 8 - Yes

Prop 2 - No

Prop 9 - Yes

Prop 3 - No

Prop 10 - No

Prop 4 - No

Prop 11 - Yes

Prop 5 - No

Prop 12 - No

Prop 6 - No

Prop 13 - Neutral (No)

Prop 7 - No

Prop 14 - Yes

No on Prop 1:

Prop 1 will appear on the ballot as follows:

“The constitutional amendment protecting the right to engage in farming, ranching, timber production, horticulture, and wildlife management.”

Sounds good right? No. It’s a power grab by Big Ag, instead of helping family farmers stay in business. LIV agrees that this is not about the “right to farm.” It’s about the “right to harm” local farmers. Therefore, we adopt Farm and Ranch Freedom Alliance’s “No on Prop 1” position in this article.

No on Prop 2:

Prop 2 will appear on the ballot as:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing a local option exemption from ad-valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child-care facility.”

Sounds good, but it’s a bad idea. We agree with this statement from the Texas Legislative Council: “Property tax exemptions will result in higher tax burdens for homeowners and other businesses, who will have to pay more to make up for the lost revenue.” We also agree with the League of Women Voters’ “con” argument that “the benefits of this tax break may not flow to parents and childcare workers.”

No, Hell No on Prop 3:

Prop 3 will appear as the crap on your ballot:

“The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual wealth or net worth tax, including a tax on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family.”

Here’s the entirety of this legislation, HJR 132:

"Sec. 25: The legislature may not impose a tax based on the wealth or net worth of an individual or family, including a tax based on the difference between the assets and liabilities of an individual or family."

This is the kind of legislation you can expect from Sen. Bryan Hughes. He is well-known as a "nice guy" who will carry any legislation, no matter how bad it is.

Any sensible tax code will not discourage hard work, innovation, and entrepreneurship. Yet consider what has taken place in monetary policy since the “Strict Dad” policies of former Fed Chair Paul Volcker ended in the late 80s. Since October ‘87, vast sums of money have been transferred upwards by way of the “Cantillon Effect.” The Fed’s “Easy Money” policies over recent decades to prop up the economy in the short term have in effect transferred a disproportionate ratio of the new money created to the top financial classes. Most notably, the top 1% and top 10%.*

Accommodative policy, quantitative easing, whatever name is used to describe it - it’s all just money creation. And, as new money is created by a nation’s central bank and enters the national economy through the banking system, it does not benefit all economic classes equally. To a large extent, this is why we see such disparity in wealth today versus in the 80s.

Much ado has been made of tax breaks for the rich since 1980, and certainly, a fiscal policy of large tax breaks for the upper classes has contributed to the unprecedented disparity in wealth in the United States, along with a huge national debt. But the untold story of government favoritism towards economic elites is on the monetary side of the equation. Proponents of a wealth tax ban are mindful of the windfalls they have attained by way of faulty central bank policy and now seek to lock in their undue government welfare.

Texans should not vote to limit options to alleviate the damage from past government mistakes, or to diminish our capacity to respond if a crisis emerges, such as a war or natural disaster. It makes no sense to tie our hands when facing our biggest challenges.

Besides, who makes the bigger sacrifice? The families who send kids to war, or the wealthy who face additional taxes during times of war?

* Recall the expression, "It takes money to make money." The redistribution of wealth from an increase in the money supply is kind of like that. The first recipients of the money experience an increase in wealth, while those who receive it later or never receive any of the new money experience a relative decrease in wealth.

For details and additional effects of money creation and commensurate inflation:

(Louis Rouanet, “Monetary Policy, Asset Price Inflation and Inequality)

No on Prop 4:

Prop 4 will appear on your ballot as:

“The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad-valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts.

Though we at LIV like a provision in Prop 4 that allows for three of the Appraisal Board Members to be elected in counties with more than 75,000 population, we cannot support Prop 4.

LIV adopts this language from The House Resource Organization:

“It is crucial to ensure that any property tax reduction or exemption is implemented sustainably and does not compromise necessary funding for public services such as education and healthcare in the long term. Reducing property taxes could make the state more vulnerable to not meeting its funding obligations in the case of a recession. With less reliance on property taxes, school funding could be in jeopardy if the state faced a decline in sales tax revenue, which could result in school funding cuts or a need to raise taxes. Property tax relief also should include measures to directly benefit the state’s significant number of renters.”

In other words, this may HURT schools and renters.

No on Prop 5:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy.”

LIV adopts the “con” argument of the Texas House Research Organization:

“Proposition 5 would only provide funding to a select few universities in the state and would not be the best use of the available funding. By excluding certain institutions, the Texas University Fund could provide an advantage to eligible universities while other schools would be expected to compete with them at the same level.”

We also would like to know just who the “few universities” are and how much they get.

No on Prop 6:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this state.”

LIV has a special article for you to read about this as we have been involved in Texas Water issues since our inception in 2013. Read No on Prop 6, Hold Your Water. As usual, if it’s about water, it’s complicated.

No on Prop 7:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities.”

LIV adopts the “con” side of the argument set forth in the Texas House Research Organization:

“Proposition 7 would not be guaranteed to increase reliability because the construction of power plants (specifically gas) in Texas has been limited due to concerns about generating sufficient profits, not due to cost barriers or limited investment. There is already robust private investment in the electric market and government involvement comes with risks, such as market distortion and borrowers defaulting on loans. Some government loan programs related to energy have resulted in high-profile defaults in other states. The state should not expose itself and taxpayers to this possibility.”

Yes on Prop 8:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects.”

Rural Texans need expanded broadband. We view this government support as legitimate as building roads, or as Rep. Doc Anderson put it, it’s like the Rural Electrification Act of 1936. This Waco Tribune article on Prop 8 is a worthwhile read.

By the way, the money for this amendment has already been appropriated.

Yes on Prop 9:

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows:

“The constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas.”

LIV adopts the “Pro” side provided by the House Research Organization:

"Proposition 9 would allow the 88th Legislature to allocate funds to provide a much-needed cost-of-living adjustment to TRS benefits for thousands of retired teachers. Under current law, the Legislature is not permitted to provide benefit enhancements, so TRS benefits do not change over time to account for price fluctuation. Inflation can be especially burdensome for individuals living on a fixed income, such as retired teachers. Although a cost-of-living adjustment could be provided for through other methods, a constitutional amendment would better guarantee funding amid competing priorities within the state’s budget surplus.

In addition to the cost-of-living adjustment, SB 10, the proposition’s enabling legislation, would grant retired teachers a one-time supplemental payment of certain benefits. The provision of a cost-of-living adjustment could improve teacher recruitment and retention, which could help to address critical school staffing shortages. The proposition also would not require an increase in TRS member contribution rates."

No one is opposing this for a reason. We all say teachers need more money.

No on Prop 10:

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows:

“The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas healthcare network and strengthen our medical supply chain.”

This is yet another giveaway to the medical industry. As the Texas Tribune says, “the amendment doesn’t keep other entities from raising taxes to make up for the loss.”

LIV adopts the “con” side of the argument from the House Research Organization:

"Instead of exempting medical and biomedical manufacturers from ad valorem taxation requirements, the Legislature should focus on reducing taxes for all Texans. The proposition also could burden regular taxpayers, who could be required to pay more to recoup tax revenue that would otherwise be paid by medical manufacturers."

See the League of Women Voters’ arguments against it, as well.

Yes on Prop 11:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to permit conservation and reclamation districts in El Paso County to issue bonds supported by ad valorem taxes to fund the development and maintenance of parks and recreational facilities."

LIV adopts this explanation from the League of Women Voters:

“Proposition 11 would include El Paso County on the list of Texas counties that allow their conservation reclamation districts to issue bonds to develop recreational facilities. These bonds would be supported by property taxes, but could only be authorized if voters of the district approve them.”

No on Prop 12:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment providing for the abolition of the office of county treasurer in Galveston County.”

LIV adopts Joe Jaworski’s statement against Prop 12:

“It’s ‘let’s strangle government in the tub’ effort. Galveston County actually elected a guy as its constitutional treasurer on a platform of eliminating the office – not that he has an ounce of power to eliminate it. As you can see, only voters can.”

And, LIV adopts the League of Women Voters’ con argument: “Removing the office of county treasurer would impact current checks and balances between elected county commissioners, who control the budget, and the elected county treasurer, who makes financial management decisions.”

Neutral on Prop 13 which means No:

The proposed amendment will appear as:

“The constitutional amendment to increase the mandatory age of retirement for state justices and judges.”

We could only support half of this measure. The first part, which we support, is that state judges can retire at 79 instead of 75, if they so choose. But the second part would mean they have to wait until 75, instead of 70, to retire, which may cause undue burden on some judges and have a negative impact on our justice system.

Yes on Prop 14:

The proposed amendment will appear on the ballot as follows:

“The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks.”

LIV adopts the House Research Organization’s “pro” side of the argument for this proposition:

“The Centennial Parks Conservation Fund created by Proposition 14 and named in honor of the 100th anniversary of the Texas state parks system would preserve and increase access to Texas’ natural beauty for residents across the state. As the state’s population has continued to grow, so has demand for the parks system. However, few state parks have been created in the past several decades. Today, many Texas residents must make reservations weeks or months ahead of time to camp in the available parks. By increasing access to state parks, Proposition 14 would help to ensure all Texans can enjoy the benefits of safe, well-maintained outdoor spaces that bring communities together, support children’s development, and provide residents with places to explore and experience nature.”

Please share this article!


bottom of page