Exotic Wildlife Association
NEWS ALERT
“Promoting Conservation through Commerce”
ATTN Texas Voters!

Early Voting Runs October 19 to October 30. Voting Day is November 3, 2015

We vote on Constitutional Amendments that affect the way we live. For a complete analysis of pros and cons for each amendment please visit the House Research Organization link at http://www.hro.house.state.tx.us/pdf/focus/amend84.pdf

Please Vote YES For Proposition 6 – The Right to Hunt and Fish! Your EWA has worked hard alongside with the National Rifle Association and the Dallas Safari Club and other groups to pass SJR 22 by Senator Brandon Creighton and Representative Trent Ashby, which provides the language of Prop. 6.

Amendment Proposition
Summary
(taken and adapted from House Research Organization)
1
  • Would increase the mandatory homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000;
  • Would also allow the Legislature to prohibit the reduction or elimination of optional homestead exemptions established by non-school district taxing entities;
  • It also would prohibit the enactment of a real estate transfer tax
Pros: If passed it would give tax relief to homeowners; would drive down the cost of owning a home, which could lower rents by reducing demand for rental property; would prevent people on fixed income from being taxed out of a home when their homes value rise due to growth but tax rates are not adjusted downward.
Cons: If passed, it would not have a significant impact on the average Texan who rent or do not own a home; rent benefit would be negligible; other taxes like sale-tax would give more relief; state law already provides relief to some with fixed income; tax cuts are likely to be unsustainable.
2
  • It would authorize the Legislature to provide a homestead exemption to the surviving spouses of 100 percent or totally disabled deceased veterans.
Pros: it would provide valuable tax relief to the families of deceased disabled veterans while any fiscal impact on a single taxing district would be minimal; Current law unintentionally creates two classes of surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans – those whose spouses died on or after January 1, 2010, who receive full property tax exemption of their homestead, and those whose spouses died before that date, who do not; it would allow about 3,800 surviving spouses of totally disabled veterans who died before 2010 to claim this exemption.
Cons: it would reduce the revenue available to school districts, municipalities, counties, and other special taxing districts, such as hospital districts, and impose corresponding costs on the state; The Constitution should not be amended to make eligible for the exemption spouses who never experienced a sudden increase because the veterans to whom they were married died before the exemption was in effect.
3
  • It would remove the constitutional requirement that the comptroller, land commissioner, attorney general, and any statutory state officer who is elected statewide reside in the capital during their terms of office.
Pros: Supporters say that this requirement is no longer necessary because it was adopted in 1876 when it could take days to travel to Austin while today with modern transportation and communication officials can manage their duties and travel to Austin easily from elsewhere; officials might not want to lose their local residency in case they later decide to seek an office that requires them to reside in a certain district.
Cons: would change a provision in the Constitution that has served Texans well for 140 years. Statewide elected officials should carry out their duties in the seat of Texas government; Being physically present in Austin ensures these officials are accessible to their staffs and available to handle the important business of the state and to meet with other state leaders as necessary: for cost living in Austin, it would be better to allow officials to live within a 50 miles radius from Austin, otherwise the taxpayer would pay also for their transportation.
4
  • It would authorize the Legislature to enact laws to permit professional sports team charitable foundations to conduct an unlimited number of charitable raffles.
             Such laws:
  • Could authorize the charitable foundation to pay reasonable advertising, promotional, and administrative expenses with the raffle proceeds;
  • Could apply only to an entity defined as a professional sports team charitable foundation on January 1, 2016
  • Could allow raffles to be conducted only at games hosted at the home venue
Pros: would provide Texas’ professional sports teams with another tool to raise funds to support their charitable causes; This would put Texas in line with about 25 states and the District of Columbia; Given the large and supportive crowds at professional sporting events, these raffles have the potential to greatly increase revenue raised by foundation to support their worthwhile charitable programs, which include after-school activities, youth summer programs, etc.
Cons: could expand gambling in Texas by increasing the number of charitable raffles that certain groups can conduct and by allowing the groups to offer cash prizes; These changes could open the door to other groups asking for expanded authority to offer such raffles; could compete with existing charitable raffles and divert funds that would have gone to other worthy causes; It would be unfair to allow only foundations related to professional sports teams to conduct 50/50 raffles and this opportunity should be extended to other charitable groups supporting worthwhile causes.
5
  • Would authorize a county with a population of 7,500 (rather than current 5,000) or less to build and maintain private roads if the county imposed a reasonable charge for the work.
Pros: would update a provision of the Texas Constitution adopted in 1980; would give counties and private landowners more flexibility to update roads that have been poorly maintained because many small counties rarely have private contractors available to do the work; would leave the landowners the flexibility to hire a private company instead of the county if so they choose; The proposed amendment would affect about 20 counties with populations between 5,000 and 7,500.
Cons: Instead of increasing the maximum population threshold, the population limit for counties should be eliminated. All counties in the state should have the option to build and maintain their roads as long as private landowners agree and pay the county for the cost of the work.
6
  • It would amend the Bill of Rights (Art. 1, Texas Constitution) to establish the right to hunt, fish, and harvest wildlife in Texas
  • The right would be subject to laws or regulations to conserve and manage wildlife and preserve the future of hunting and fishing
  • It would not affect laws on trespass, property rights, or eminent domain or the power of the Legislature to authorize a municipality to regulate the discharge of a weapon in a populated area in the interest of public safety
Pros: It would prevent animal rights and anti-hunting organizations, like it happened in other states, to limit hunting through onerous bag limits or by eliminating the hunting of certain types of game; would preserve the cultural impact of hunting and fishing in Texas; it would protect the economic impact of these activities such as outdoor industry driven employment, tax revenues, investment, and conservation funding; it would protect landowner incentive to provide quality habitat for animals and to conserve game and nongame animals including endangered species.
Cons: is unnecessary because there is no immediate threat to hunting and fishing in Texas; would single out hunting and fishing as “preferred methods of managing and controlling wildlife” when there are many ways, including contraception, to manage wildlife; hunting and fishing of many endangered and threatened species would not be appropriate.
7
  • It would direct up to $2.5 billion of any sales tax proceeds in excess of $28 billion to the state highway fund in each fiscal year starting with fiscal 2018 and ending with fiscal 2032
  • It would also direct 35 percent of any motor vehicle sales, use, and rental tax proceeds in excess of $5 billion to the state highway fund in each fiscal year starting with fiscal 2020 and ending with fiscal 2029
  • It would give some flexibility to the legislature to reduce such deposits or to extend the period.
Pros: would provide a steady, consistent funding source for transportation projects across the state while also giving flexibility to the legislature to avoid compromising the state’s ability to fund critical state services; Transportation costs can be a drag on the economy when traffic congestion develops; would address current needs and would provide more funding as the economy grows; Current variable funding makes it harder for contractors to maintain a trained workforce.
Cons: It could tie the hands of the state in future years by constitutionally dedicating more than $5 billion to transportation projects each fiscal biennium; tight fiscal times could trigger larger cuts in other critical state services like public education and health and human services; If the Legislature wishes to spend a portion of sales tax revenue on transportation, it can make this determination each session; other issues, including education and workforce readiness, could become even more important as the economy becomes increasingly knowledge- based and may take precedent over transportation.
Exotic Wildlife Association
Charly Seale, Executive Director

105 Henderson Branch Rd., West
Ingram, Texas 78025
 
October 23, 2015
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