Voters to decide on constitutional amendments, tax hike
By GARREN BUSTAMANTE
Nov. 2 is Election Day in Texas with nine propositions on the ballot. Eight of these involve amendments to the Texas constitution and one is about a proposed Amarillo city tax increase.
Proposition A would increase the Amarillo tax rate
“If you look at a $100,000 home, Amarillo passage of this proposition would increase the tax bill $3.40 more a month,” said Sonya Letson, Amarillo president of the League of Women Voters.
This is a 22% increase in the property owner’s ad valorem tax bill, amounting to $7.27 a month on a $100,000 house.
The extra money received by the increase in taxes would be used on numerous improvements around Amarillo.
According to Vote411.org, the money would be used to add additional police officers and equipment for fire departments. Other plans include improving parks and playgrounds, as well as resurfacing roads and fixing potholes around town.
“I don’t think you need to increase taxes for the purpose of police work,” Beatriz Otriz, a biology major, said. “We already have enough construction going on everywhere, I think Amarillo needs to focus more on education and schooling.”
One of the proposed Texas constitutional amendments has to do with a tax exemption on ad valorem taxation for all or part of the market value residence homestead for spouses of a member of the armed services of the United States who is killed or fatally injured in the line of duty.
“It seems like every legislative session we have one or two more exemptions,” Letson said. “What we have to think about is the more exemptions there are the less tax property, tax revenue and the more the burden will increase on the remaining people who have no exemption.”
There is also controversy around the exemption for people killed while serving in the United States military.
“Currently it is limited to those killed in action, rather than in the line of duty,” said Sonya, she continues “some proponents say this is an oversight in the current law because you’re exempt in action but not in line of duty and they feel they should be exempt also.”