DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – When Texas voters head to the polls Tuesday, they face seven statewide propositions.
Among them, Prop 1, which would amend the Texas Constitution to increase the homestead exemptions for state homeowners.
The Texas Association of Realtors is running ads on TV and online supporting Prop 1.
Rick Wilder, a Richardson homeowner also likes the ballot initiative. “It’s good for the citizens of Richardson. It’s good for citizens of Texas.”
Wilder, who’s semi-retired, says Prop 1 will help homeowners because rising home values have raised property taxes. If approved by voters, the state would increase the homestead exemption for most homeowners from $15,000 to $25,000 and from $25,000 to $35,000 for seniors and the disabled.
For the average homeowner, it amounts to $125 a year in savings on school property taxes. That adds up to about $1.2 billion in a two-year period.
As part of Prop 1, the state would send schools $1.2 billion to make up for the higher exemptions.
Wilder says, “This will last. Once the property value levels out or if they even drop, we still have this exemption if we pass this proposition and therefore we get to keep saving that extra $125.”
But some opponents say the savings are minimal for homeowners, especially when you consider property values are rising.
Rena Honea, President of the Alliance AFT, a Dallas teacher’s union, says she believes the state is missing an opportunity. “I do. Personally, I do.”
Honea says the state needs to focus on its number one priority: children.
As a result, she says the state should spend an additional $1.2 billion on public schools, which haven’t had their funding fully restored since deep budget cuts in 2011. “When you’ve got a large urban inner-city school district with high poverty rates funding is highly important and it has to be done.”
While Honea opposes Prop 1, the Alliance AFT doesn’t formally oppose the ballot measure.
The Texas AFL-CIO does.
As for Rick Wilder, he says he understands Honea’s concerns and says his wife works for a school district.
But he says, “We don’t feel there’s a worry that the state won’t back their word and do what they expect to do.”
If Prop 1 passes, it would start in the tax year beginning January, 2015.
In addition, the initiative would prohibit the Texas legislature from ever enacting a transfer tax on real estate transactions.
(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)
Follow Jack on Twitter: @cbs11jack