SU Students Vote on Texas Propositions
On Tuesday, November 7, 2023, Southwestern students went to vote in the 2023 Texas Elections. The Howry Center hosted polling booths during the voting hours from 7 AM to 7 PM as voters across the state turned out to determine the results of 14 referendums. These referendums amended the state constitution and were put on the ballot by the Texas state legislature.
Attempting to inform and raise student awareness, SU Votes, the non-partisan student organization here on campus, distributed League of Women Voters informational newsletters, as well as other shirts and merchandise.
The most attention-getting of the propositions was Proposition 4, supported by the Texas Republican Party, to raise the homestead exemption on property taxes from $40,000 to $100,000, lowering property tax costs for homeowners and businesses. Additionally, further revenue would be allocated to public schools to make up for decreased property taxes. This proposition passed 83% for to 17% against.
The referendum that received the most support was Proposition 9, which gave cost-of-living adjustments for retired teachers’ monthly pension checks. This referendum passed with 84% for to 16% against.
The referendum that faced the most opposition was Proposition 13, which would have raised the mandatory retirement age for Texas judges from 75 to 79. This referendum failed 63% against to 37% for.
The referendum with the most narrow margin was Proposition 12, to eliminate the position of Galveston County Treasurer. This proposition passed 53% for to 47% against, authorizing Galveston County to remove the position and contract or delegate the responsibilities of this office to someone else. The current treasurer, Hank Dugie, campaigned to eliminate the office.
The remaining statewide propositions that passed included the right to farm, garden, and ranch, property tax exemptions for child care businesses, the prohibition of a wealth tax, allocating earnings from the State’s Rainy Day Fund to the Texas University Fund, creating a Texas Water Fund, creating a Texas Energy Fund, creating a Broadband Infrastructure Fund, exempting medical and biomedical manufacturers from certain taxes, allowing El Paso County conservation and reclamation districts to issue bonds, and creating a Centenniel Parks Conservation fund.
Students registered here in Williamson County and the City of Georgetown had the opportunity to vote on two county propositions and four city propositions.
Williamson Proposition A issued $825,000,000 of bonds for roads, passing with 62% for to 38% against.
Williamson Proposition B issued $59,000,000 of bonds for parks and recreation, passing with 60% for to 40% against.
Georgetown Proposition A issued $56,000,000 of bonds for a customer service center, passing with 51% for to 49% against.
Georgetown Proposition B issued $49,000,000 of bonds for parks and recreation, passing with 59% for to 41% against.
Georgetown Proposition C issued $15,000,000 of bonds for animal shelter facilities, passing with 67% for to 33% against.
And Georgetown Proposition D issued $10,000,000 of bonds for a partnership with the YMCA of Central Texas, passing with 51% for to 49% against.
Bonds are the creation of debt through borrowing money. The government will use this money for its projects and then return what it owes plus interest through taxation. As such, voting for a bond approves the eventual taxpayer funding of bond repayments.
With narrow margins for two local propositions, SU student voters in the City of Georgetown most impacted Georgetown Proposition A and D, showing the importance of staying informed on the issues and going out to vote, even during odd-year elections.