Texas’ New Constitutional Amendments – Part 1

September 21, 2015

Today we’ll begin a series on the amendments to the Texas Constitution that will be up before the voters on November 3rd. We’ll take up a different amendment each week for seven weeks. I will try to give you both the pros and cons.

I hope this will provide a good overview to help you prepare for election day. I have to warn you though, some of these amendments are a bit dry but they are all important.

PROP 1 BALLOT LANGUAGE: “The constitutional amendment increasing the amount of the residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation for public school purposes from $15,000 to $25,000, providing for a reduction of the limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for those purposes on the homestead of an elderly or disabled person to reflect the increased exemption amount, authorizing the legislature to prohibit a political subdivision that has adopted an optional residence homestead exemption from ad valorem taxation from reducing the amount of or repealing the exemption, and prohibiting the enactment of a law that imposes a transfer tax on a transaction that conveys fee simple title to real property.”

DIGEST: Proposition 1 would increase the mandatory homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. The taxable value of homesteads owned by the elderly or people who are disabled also would be correspondingly reduced. These provisions would take effect January 1, 2015, and would apply only to a tax year beginning on or after that date.

SUPPORTERS SAY: The property tax is one of the most onerous taxes. In areas of rapid economic growth where demand for housing is strong, homeowners, especially those living on fixed incomes, may be priced out of their homes by rising property taxes. The amount of the mandatory school district residence homestead exemption has not been updated since 1997, while appraisals have continued to increase. This amendment provides much needed tax relief by increasing the amount of the homestead exemption, reducing the amount of taxes paid by a homeowner. By making this effective for 2015 taxes, it ensures that relief is felt immediately. It also promotes economic growth by allowing homeowners to retain more of their money.

OPPONENTS SAY:The homestead exemption increase will only nominally provide property tax relief for homeowners. The exemption will reduce property taxes for the average homeowner by about $126 a year. The homestead exemption increase provides no benefit for those who rent homes. Property taxes are a local matter. The best way to control local property taxes is for voters to hold local officials accountable.


The U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee this week voted to advance a bill repealing the ban on crude oil exports from the United States. I strongly support this legislative and advocated for repeal of the ban in a letter to the Texas’ congressional delegation last month. Lifting the 1970’s oil embargo is critical for Texas as we have one-third of U.S. crude oil reserves and we are the top producer. Allowing Texas to compete in worldwide markets will promote energy independence and dramatically expand economic development.

On September 10, I participated in the Star of Texas memorial ceremony hosted by Gov. Greg Abbott. The Star of Texas awards honor first responders who are seriously injured or killed in the line of duty. Pictured below is Sgt. Shane Drake of Fort Worth PD and his wonderful family. Sgt. Drake is still recovering from his wounds. I served at FWPD for 15 years and was proud to see the Drake family recognized.

State Representative Phil King represents Parker and Wise counties in the Texas House of Representatives.