On Tuesday, November 5th, the residents of Texas have the ability to vote on ten proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. The ten amendments were introduced by legislators in the 86th Legislative Session. Over the next few weeks we will continue to review each proposed amendment and this week we will review the next three propositions.

Proposition 4: Prohibiting a state individual income tax. The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment prohibiting the imposition of an individual income tax, including a tax on an individual’s share of partnership and unincorporated association income.” Although the Texas Constitution already requires a proposed income tax be approved by voters in a referendum, it does not explicitly prohibit such a tax. This proposition would make it clear once and for all that the state could not impose an individual income tax.

Proposition 5: Dedicating sporting goods sales tax revenue to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department (TPWD) and the Texas Historical Council (THC). The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment dedicating the revenue received from the existing state sales and use taxes that are imposed on sporting goods to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department and the Texas Historical Commission to protect Texas’ natural areas, water quality, and history by acquiring, managing, and improving state and local parks and historic sites while not increasing the rate of the state sales and use taxes.” This proposition would allow automatically appropriating the net revenue received each state fiscal year from the collection of the sporting goods sales tax to the TPWD and the THC. The proposition would define “sporting goods” as items of tangible personal property designed and sold for use in a sport or sporting activity, excluding apparel and footwear except that which is suitable only for use in a sport or sporting activity. If approved by voters, Proposition 5 would take effect September 1, 2021, and would apply only to state tax revenue collected on or after that date.

Proposition 6: Increasing CPRIT’s bond authority from $3 billion to $6 billion. The wording on the ballot will be: “The constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to increase by $3 billion the maximum bond amount authorized for the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.” The Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) provides grants to support institutions of learning, advanced medical research facilities, and other entities in finding the causes of all types of human cancer and developing cures from lab research and clinical trials. As of February 2019, CPRIT had awarded about 1,300 grants totaling $2.2 billion to about 100 academic institutions, nonprofits, and public companies. If approved, this proposition would increase the maximum amount of general obligation bonds the Texas Public Finance Authority could provide for, issue, and sell on behalf of CPRIT, from $3 billion to $6 billion.

To make well-informed votes, we must educate ourselves on the changes proposed. For more information on these propositions, please visit Constitutional amendments proposed for November 2019 ballot. This site includes more details and specifics on each amendment. You have access to the arguments for and against each amendment on the website, as well.

If you have questions regarding any of the information mentioned in this week’s article, please do not hesitate to call my Capitol or District Office. Please always feel free to contact my office if you have any questions or issues regarding a Texas state agency, or if you would like to contact my office regarding constituent services. As always, my offices are available at any time to assist with questions, concerns or comments (Capitol Office, 512-463-0672; District Office, 361-949-4603).

– State Representative Todd Hunter, District 32

Rep. Hunter represents Nueces County (Part). He can be contacted at todd.hunter@house.texas.gov or at 512-463-0672