The Austin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors has taken the position to support the Travis and Williamson County bond propositions and some of the State of Texas Constitutional Amendments that will be on the ballot in November.
The Travis County bond election is for a total of approximately $509 million dollars, split into two measures: one for roadway capacity and active transportation ($233 million) and one for parks and open space ($276 million). The Williamson County bond election is for a total of approximately $884 million. This bond election is also split into two measures, one for roads ($825 million) and one for parks and recreational improvements ($59 million).
As part of the 2023 Texas Legislative Session, the legislature sent 14 constitutional amendments to be considered by voters. The proposed amendments would dedicate funds to support higher education research, water infrastructure, gas-fueled power plants, broadband infrastructure, maintenance, and the creation of state parks. There are also items that would address taxes by offering new or enhanced exemptions for both homesteads and businesses.
"The Austin Chamber is the voice of the business community in Austin, and we are excited at the investments that will be possible by voting for these bonds," said Ali Khataw, Chair of the Austin Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “The State of Texas took up a wide variety of issues during the 2023 legislative session, and we are sharing our support for a selection of the issues that most closely impact the business community. These bonds and constitutional amendments continue to prepare our region and the state for the future."
The Board of Directors of the Austin Chamber of Commerce received information on proposed bonds, while various Chamber committees were briefed on the bonds and constitutional amendments by different organizations. The Local Government and Regional Mobility Committees of the Chamber recommended support for the bonds in Travis and Williamson counties. Similarly, the State and Federal Affairs Committee of the Chamber recommended supporting a selection of the constitutional amendments and conveyed their support to the Chamber board. In its meeting on September 28th, the board approved the committees' suggestions and decided to endorse the Travis and Williamson County bonds, along with selected State Constitutional Amendments.
Travis County Bond
- Proposition A: Calls for the issuance of $233,060,000 of road bonds for the construction, maintenance, and operation of paved roads and turnpikes.
- Proposition B: Calls for the issuance of $276,440,000 in bonds to fund the construction and improvement of county parks, as well as the acquisition of land.'
Williamson County Bond
- Proposition A: Calls for the issuance of up to $825,000,000 of road bonds for the purpose of construction, land acquisition, maintenance, and operation of paved roads and turnpikes.
- Proposition B: Calls for the issuance of up to $59,000,000 in bonds for the purpose of construction, improvement, renovation, equipment, and acquisition of land, buildings, and facilities, related to open space, trails, and parks.
State of Texas Constitutional Amendments
There are 14 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution. The Austin Chamber of Commerce has chosen to support the propositions listed below, with no position being taken on the items not listed.
- Proposition 2: "The constitutional amendment authorizing a local option exemption from ad valorem taxation by a county or municipality of all or part of the appraised value of real property used to operate a child-care facility."
- Proposition 4: "The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to establish a temporary limit on the maximum appraised value of real property other than a residence homestead for ad valorem tax purposes; to increase the amount of the exemption from ad valorem taxation by a school district applicable to residence homesteads from $40,000 to $100,000; to adjust the amount of the limitation on school district ad valorem taxes imposed on the residence homesteads of the elderly or disabled to reflect increases in certain exemption amounts; to except certain appropriations to pay for ad valorem tax relief from the constitutional limitation on the rate of growth of appropriations; and to authorize the legislature to provide for a four-year term of office for a member of the board of directors of certain appraisal districts."
- Proposition 5: "The constitutional amendment relating to the Texas University Fund, which provides funding to certain institutions of higher education to achieve national prominence as major research universities and drive the state economy."
- Proposition 6: "The constitutional amendment creating the Texas water fund to assist in financing water projects in this state."
- Proposition 7: "The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the Texas energy fund to support the construction, maintenance, modernization, and operation of electric generating facilities."
- Proposition 8: "The constitutional amendment creating the broadband infrastructure fund to expand high-speed broadband access and assist in the financing of connectivity projects."
- Proposition 9: "The constitutional amendment authorizing the 88th Legislature to provide a cost-of-living adjustment to certain annuitants of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas."
- Proposition 10: "The constitutional amendment to authorize the legislature to exempt from ad valorem taxation equipment or inventory held by a manufacturer of medical or biomedical products to protect the Texas healthcare network and strengthen our medical supply chain."
- Proposition 14: "The constitutional amendment providing for the creation of the centennial parks conservation fund to be used for the creation and improvement of state parks."
The last day to register to vote is Tuesday, October 10. Early voting begins on Monday, October 23, and Election Day is Tuesday, November 7.