Location: Pantego, Texas, United States

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Texas election on 3 November will have 11 Constitutional Amendment Propositions. These propositions are often worded so that they are hard to understand. I urge people to vote for three of the propositions. (I haven’t figured out exactly what the implications are for some the others.)

I favor No.2 which requires that a person’s primary residence be appraised based on its homestead value rather than the “highest and best use” standard. My view is that the local government authorities should not be able to tax people out of their homes. If a developer buddy of the mayor wants granny’s property, he should pay granny what it is worth to her, rather than having the city increase taxes so high that granny can’t afford her home and is forced to sell. (That has happened, for example, in Dalworthington Gardens just south of where I live.)

I favor Proposition No. 4 which creates a path for seven colleges in Texas to become Tier 1 Research Institutions. At present Texas only has three (Texas, Texas A&M, and Rice). I’m not sure about which ones the seven colleges are, but Houston, UTA, and Texas Tech are included. Houston and Texas Tech would probably reach Tier 1 status almost immediately. Texas definitely needs more than three Tier 1 Universities. The state has far more top students than the current three Tier 1 Universities can accommodate.

I favor Proposition No. 11 which strengthens eminent domain protection for property owners. Government entities are using eminent domain to aid private developers, a practice upheld by the Supreme Court in the Kelo Case (where property was seized, but no development has occurred).
My view is that crony capitalists (who are basically fascists similar to Mussolini, not Hitler) should pay for their own developments rather than having the state seize property for them and effectively raise money for them through bond offerings. If the Jerry Joneses of the world want a $1.2 billion football stadium, they should build it themselves.


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