Also, perish the thought, elected officials have been known to lie about the special interest causes they lobby for. Take as an example the 2003 push for Proposition 12, a.k.a., Tort Reform.
Consequently, the only way Texas voters can make intelligent decisions on each of the proposed constitutional amendments is to become educated on every one of them.
And THAT, my friends, is why I am writing this article.
Here is a site that presents and analyses all of the proposed constitutional amendments slated for the upcoming November 2007 election.
Some of you may feel this next site is set up easier to review the proposals:
The next question is whether or not this site presents the information on each of the proposals in an unbiased manner? Well, maybe or maybe not.
That's why, if you want to be truly educated on an issue, you must review several other perspectives.
Here is one such perspective:
While voters constantly are told by many legislators that these proposed constitutional amendments are in the best interests of the Texas community at-large, I recommend that voters recall the last 5 years of our legislative history and ask the following questions:
In the past 5 years:
- Have elected officials been sympathetic to the financial plight of most Texans?
- Have legislators been honest about most issues?
- Are you, personally, in a "better place" financially than you were 5 years ago?
- Have legislators done anything TANGIBLE to relieve the tax burden of homeowners?
- Why have elected officials permitted the record high number of home foreclosures?
- Why have officials continued to freeze the gasoline tax since the 1990's while continuing to divert 40-percent of the revenue from gasoline taxes to other interests?
- Why doesn't TxDOT and DPS have any REAL oversight and why are they permitted to do as they please WITHOUT any accountability?
- Why does Texas government permit a governor to assume office after winning only 39-percent of all the votes?
- Since the Texas Constitution mandates that the state provide all Texas children with a quality public education, then why does the state provide only 30 to 40 percent of the total tax dollars slated for public education? And why are homeowners in each county still the ones to bear most of the brunt to finance public education?
- Why are Texas homeowners paying the highest premiums for insurance than anywhere else in the nation?
- Why are health care insurance premiums unaffordable for most Texans and why is the state in the top 10 for the number of most uninsured residents?
Before you vote for or against proposed constitutional amendments consider that Texas generally has been "a pay as you go" state. That is, government spends our tax dollars AS NEEDED, WHEN NEEDED.
So consider why now do our legislators develop ongoing proposals for bond packages, that while providing more immediate money for spending, also increase the state's long-term debt?
There are road and school bonds constantly being proposed at the state and local (county and city) levels.
All bond packages will increase taxes!!!
Peggy Venable, state director of the 16,000 Texas members of Americans for Prosperity, agrees with my assessment that bonds are merely taxes and long-term debt. See her article:
Toll roads are nothing more than toll taxes and special interest profiteering!!!
In a state where the governor and legislators ALWAYS maintain a platform of "NO NEW TAXES", how can they justify pushing for all these bond packages and toll roads??????
Bond packages and toll roads amount to nothing more than NEW TAXES!!!
Anyone who does NOT admit to that fact is extremely naive or nothing more than a liar.
So, fellow Texans, before voting for or against future proposed constitutional amendments please consider what each of the amendments REALLY proposes. Is each one being proposed in the best interests of the community at-large, or is it for some special interest purpose. Will each proposal benefit you directly, or is each merely another approach to raise your taxes?
Reviewing each proposal and asking some honest questions about each one will provide voters with a more intelligent and educated perspective on how to vote.
For example, personally I plan to vote for only 1 proposed amendment, Proposition 9. This one plans to provide 100-percent Disabled Veterans with a complete property tax exemptions --- no taxes on their home of residence. In my opinion, this is the only proposition that merits any worth and has been needed for a long time.
Bear in mind that ANY proposition that plans to offer a bond package simply translates into an increase in your taxes somewhere in the near future and also becomes a long-term debt for the state and its taxpayers. Do you really want one or more tax increases? Don't we all pay enough already?
This next one is important to consider!
Some of you may say, well Proposition 15 is for cancer research, so why wouldn't you vote for that? Well, here's my response:
The state should NOT borrow money to finance a cancer research program while the state has a fiscal surplus and could pay for the program out of general revenue. The interest on $3 billion in general obligation bonds is approximately $1.6 billion.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility agrees with what I am stating:
So, what REALLY is Proposition 15?
Proposed Amendment 15: A Noble Attempt to Wipe-Out Cancer, or Just Another Political Scam?
I'd like to share with all of you my response to the editorial by the Waxahachie Daily Light regarding the Proposed Amendment 15, which is being presented as an effort to research and eliminate cancer.
To the Editor:
While I agree with the editorial that cancer is a terrible disease and that we must find a cure for it [a.k.a., Prop. 15], and while my own father withered away and died from Lymphoma, I am voting AGAINST Proposition 15 because it is NOT the correct way to provide financing for that noble and long-needed direction.
Remember several years ago when Gov. Perry lobbied all around the state for the amendment to eliminate "frivolous" medical malpractice lawsuits? We were told that it will make health care more affordable. Ha-ha-ha!
"Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me!!!"
Perry and others want to use a General Fund to divert money into this effort by providing tax dollars to more of the governor's special interest campaign contributors. For the past decade our legislators have used many funds set up as General [Slush] Funds from which they divert millions of taxpayer dollars to other interests. It is NOT the right thing to do. The funds are set up for specific purposes and yet state law permits lawmakers to divert our dollars to whatever whim they have.
Again, the state should NOT borrow money to finance a cancer research program while the state has a fiscal surplus and could pay for the program out of general revenue. The interest on $3 billion in general obligation bonds is approximately $1.6 billion.
In this case, passage of Prop. 15 will ensure that billions of tax dollars will go to some obscure cause for researching cancer WITHOUT ANY REAL PLAN and also WITHOUT ANY OVERSIGHT AND ACCOUNTABILITY TO TEXAS TAXPAYERS.
For another opinion on Proposition 15 see:
This is just business as usual for special interests and their bought governor and legislators.
Sorry, folks, I don't trust Perry and neither should you!
I don't like it when politicians wave a noble cause in our faces and then really plan to use the tax dollars for their special interests.
While curing cancer is a noble objective, we need to be skeptical of how our government uses our tax dollars. In an age in which we are constantly told that there are NOT enough tax dollars to run our government and services the way they need to be operated, should we take more tax dollars away from where it is needed to redirect them to another interest ---- an interest for which there is no real game plan?
By the way, the reason this and other issues have become proposed constitutional amendments is that our state constitution protects us from this very thing. Our forefathers did NOT want state government to incur long-term debt! However, our current leaders don't give a hoot about that if it means more profits for their special interests.
Heck, if it weren't against the laws of our constitution legislators would have approved all these long-term debt proposals WITHOUT voter approval!!!
Let "the great minds of Texas" arrive at a REAL plan to research cancer and then ask the voters to approve financing for it. As for me, I don't trust our elected officials --- especially Rick Perry.
Then I want to see an unbiased board, representative of the people of Texas, to provide the non-political oversight to ensure that tax dollars are used in the most effective way possible to provide the research to eliminate this dreaded disease.
After that, I want elected officials and the health care industry to make the cure for cancer financially available to ALL Texans. After all, taxpayers will be paying BILLIONS to the health care industry to FIND the cure so it should be AFFORDABLE to ALL Texans! Why should the cure for cancer only be for the wealthy?
Vote "NO!" on Prop. 15!
It is an absolute enigma to comprehend why the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) would need a road bond package after it just received the go-ahead for toll roads in Texas.
In addition, after years of whining that it is financially "poor" the agency continues to use our tax dollars frivolously and illegally to advertise its toll roads and to lobby the U.S. Congress so it can change the laws in order to place tolls on existing freeways. That would amount to double-taxing Texans. If voters approve the Prop. 12 bond package, tax payers will be triple-taxed for their roadways.
Who is protecting Texas taxpayers from "runaway" TxDOT?
It's not the governor, legislators or even the Sunset Commission. It's not Attorney General Greg Abbott or Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle. TxDOT virtually has no oversight or any accountability. The agency conveniently has forgotten that it works for the people of Texas and NOT its special interests.
How much of our hard-earned money should we continue to throw-away to TxDOT so the agency can continue to use our tax dollars for ANYTHING it wants?
Vote "NO!" on Prop. 12
During the past 7 years of following Rick Perry's motivations and actions, we all should be highly skeptical of ANYTHING the governor lobbies for, 19 out of 20 times it is NOT in the best interests of the Texas community at-large, but is for his wealthy campaign contributors.
So, the last word on Proposed Constitutional Amendments:
In closing, let's not follow blindly the history of voting for most proposed constitutional amendments without ensuring that they are good for the majority of Texans.
Let's recognize that the reason these proposals are on the ballot is because currently each one is against the laws of our state constitution!
Finally, don't just vote for all the proposals without a really good reason because, in reality, we don't need or want most of them! Generally, these proposed amendments are motivated by wealthy special interests!
Meanwhile, make sure you get out there and vote!