Besides local issues, Texas voters have seven proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution to decide upon during early voting that extends through Nov. 3. The most discussed of these proposes making it far easier for Texans to secure home-equity loans. Here’s a rundown. Election Day is Nov. 7.
Proposition 1: This constitutional amendment would allow partially disabled veterans or surviving spouses property-tax exemptions if they’re living in homes donated to them for less than market value. This basically corrects an earlier amendment by ensuring that disabled veterans who put some money toward their homes aren’t prevented from actually realizing this tax break. YES.
Proposition 2: This further loosens restrictions on home-equity loans, including reducing the cap on fees charged to borrowers from 3 percent to 2 percent of the loan’s principal. These restrictions were originally placed to make it harder for Texans to carelessly lose their homes, but relaxing these allows them more access to the equity they’ve built up, which seems only fair. At the same time, it means that borrowers must be far more vigilant. YES.
Proposition 3: State lawmakers are adding more scrutiny to gubernatorial appointees. This amendment would ensure that appointees don’t continue serving long past their original terms through gubernatorial neglect. If their terms have expired, their obligations would absolutely cease at the end of the next regular legislative session. Seems smart governmental practice to us. YES.
Proposition 4: This would require courts to notify the state attorney general when the constitutionality of a state law is challenged. The attorney general would then have 45 days to respond before any ruling impacting state law could be issued. This initially gave us pause, based on our belief in separation of powers, but it’s only right the attorney general be able to legally respond to such challenges. YES.
Proposition 5: This constitutional amendment merely takes the current right of 10 major professional sports teams’ charitable foundations to hold raffles and extends it to yet others such as the Women’s NBA. Whatever your sentiments on gambling, this amendment would merely add uniformity to these specialized charitable arms. YES.
Proposition 6: This constitutional amendment proposal, which picked up steam after a sniper killed five Dallas police officers last year, would allow property-tax exemption for the surviving spouses of emergency medical technicians, firefighters and law enforcement killed or fatally injured on duty. While we understand concerns about increasing property-tax exemptions, this one strikes us as particularly worthy. YES.
Proposition 7: This constitutional amendment would allow banks and credit unions to hold raffles to encourage saving. Given that many Americans are not saving sufficiently for their retirement at a time when at least some in Congress want to restrict 401(k) retirement-saving incentives and curtail such programs as Social Security, anything that gets people in the savings mood is encouraged. YES.