NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The polls in Texas open at 7 a.m. and voters will consider amendments to the state constitution — in all there are seven propositions. Some North Texas cities are also asking voters to consider bond proposals.
A few of the seven propositions are grabbing a lot of attention.
Proposition 1 would amend the constitution to increase homestead exemptions for homeowners. The homeowners’ school property tax homestead exemption would go from $15,000 to $25,000, saving the average family roughly $125 annually.
Supporters of Prop 1, including the Texas Association of Realtors, say it would help homeowners save on school property taxes. The state would use budgeted extra funding to make up the difference and give schools some $1.2 billion to cover shortfalls.
Opponents say the money from the state is less than what property taxes could offer.
Proposition 7 deals with new road construction and maintenance of existing roads. If passed, every year, starting in September of 2017, that the sales tax revenue exceeds $28 billion, the next $2.5 billion would go to roads.
Regional transportation planners say if Prop 7 is approved, the very busy and easily congested Interstate-35E corridor, near Oak Lawn in Dallas, is just one area that would be improved.
Among those supporting Prop 7 are Governor Greg Abbott and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins.
Residents in several cities are considering bonds. In Lewisville, voters will decide whether they want the city to spend $140 million on improvements to streets, parks and public safety facilities.
The City of Mesquite wants to spend $125 million to make major improvements on a number of residential streets that they say are in poor shape.
In McKinney, votes will consider a $160 million bond package that would improve everything from city streets, public safety facilities, municipal buildings and a downtown parking garage, to adding additional flood protections and constructing and improving the McKinney National Airport.
School districts, including Dallas, Rockwall, Grand Prairie, Allen and Highland Park, also have proposed bond proposals on the ballot.
Although not here in North Teas another referendum that has people talking is the nondiscrimination ordinance to protect gay and transgender people in Houston. The fight there has been bitter, with conservatives saying the ordinance is unsafe for women and children because it would simply let men dressed as women enter restrooms to spy, expose themselves or harm those inside.
State leaders are hoping the tax break and highway proposals are enough to get voters to turnout. Last year less than 34-percent of registered voters cast ballots, despite the governor’s race.
Voters can cast their ballots until 7 p.m.
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