This op-ed originally appeared in the Dallas Morning News on Oct. 16.
Beginning (Oct. 16), you can vote to cut your property taxes and build better roads by voting early in the 2015 Constitutional Amendment Election at any polling location in your county.
If you want to cut your property taxes, vote for Proposition 1. It’s time for homeowners—not the government—to truly own their own property. That’s why I insisted on meaningful property tax reduction this session, and this is the first step.
This amendment will save you money by protecting more of your home’s value from being taxed. Your homestead exemption will increase from $15,000 to $25,000. While the property tax savings will vary by district, it’s your money, and you should get to keep more of it.
By voting in this election, you can also tell the Legislature you want better roads to come ahead of any pet projects.
By voting for Proposition 7, you are directing an unprecedented $4 billion a year be added to the state highway fund for the building and repairing of our roads — without adding a penny more in new fees, tolls, taxes or debt. And none of this money can be used for toll roads.
As I traveled around this great state, I heard your loud and clear message: You’re tired of being stuck in traffic. It costs you time and money. That’s why I made road funding an emergency priority.
Road congestion hits every family’s wallet. It costs rush hour drivers in Austin and Dallas more than $1,000 a year. And in Houston, it’s even more — almost $1,500 a year. But traffic is not just a “big city” problem. As Texas continues to grow, congestion is growing in communities of every size.
Proposition 7 does not raise taxes. Instead, it constitutionally dedicates sales taxes already collected: $2.5 billion will come from state sale tax revenue plus about $1.5 billion from taxes paid when people purchase or rent motor vehicles in Texas.
By voting for this proposition, you are making sure there is money in the bank for large road projects. I’ve directed the Texas Transportation Commission to address the worst traffic chokepoints. They must work with planners to get new roads built swiftly and effectively.
Other measures on the Constitutional Amendment ballot include Proposition 2. This cuts property taxes for spouses of totally disabled veterans who died before 2011. Voters already approved this for spouses of totally disabled veterans who died after 2011. We owe more than our thanks to those who serve in uniform and the families who serve by their sides.
And finally, Proposition 6 protects your rights as a Texan to hunt and fish. Texans have long lived off the bounty of the land. Hunting and fishing are family traditions, and we know how to conserve our natural resources for future generations.