Chad’s Morning Brief: Straight-Party Voting in Texas, Some Texas Mayors Oppose Plans to Cut Property Taxes, and Other Top Stories
Here is your Morning Brief for February 17, 2015.
Legislation Filed to Exempt Judges and County Officials From Straight-Party Voting
Republican State Rep. Jason Villalba has filed a bill that would take on some aspects of straight-party voting. According to the Dallas Morning News, Villalba would like to see voters move away from straight-ticket voting.
The bill relates to elections in Texas’ largest counties, including Dallas County. The offices of sheriff, district attorney, tax assessor and constable would be removed from party-line voting. Criminal and civil court judges would also be exempt.
“We need to get away from straight-ticket voting and focus more on qualifications, criteria and ability, rather than party affiliation,” Villalba said.
But candidates, like now, would run in partisan races and under party labels. The bill would simply force voters to take the time to select a candidate in those races, instead of quickly and efficiently voting along party lines, which typically takes one motion.
This piece of legislation doesn't have a good chance of passing as the Dallas Morning News points out. It does however push the debate over straight-party voting as an option on ballots. While I think Villalba brings up a good point about voting for people based on qualifications and ability, taking away the straight-party option won't stop most from voting based on the person's party affiliation.
State Rep. Ron Simmons also wrote yesterday for the need to get rid of straight-party voting as a way to educate voters on who the candidates actually are. Again, I understand what Simmons is getting at, but there is nothing to stop voters from just voting for the Republican in all races.
What do you think about straight-party voting?
A handful of Texas mayors were in Austin Monday according to the Dallas Morning News. The reason? They aren't happy with proposed appraisal and revenue caps.
Lawmakers, spurred by GOP Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, are looking at ways to effectively reduce the amount of property tax revenue growth that cities can collect. They pitch it as “property tax relief,” since it could result in lower property tax rates for property owners.
Appraisal caps and revenue caps are two of the most popular ideas to curb property taxes.
Appraisal caps limit the amount that the taxable value of a home can be raised each year. So one bill under consideration would decrease the maximum taxable amount that tax appraisals for homes can increase in a year from 10 percent to 5 percent.
Revenue caps make it harder for governments to raise overall tax revenue without voter approval. One proposal would trigger an election to lower the property tax rate if a municipalities’ property tax revenue grew by more than 4 percent in a year, not counting taxes on new construction.
But cities and counties counter that the increased property tax values are a function of continued growth. And to accommodate that growth, they need the additional revenue to provide infrastructure, parks, libraries and other amenities.
It should be noted that many of those who attended the meeting in Austin are liberal Mayors who enjoy spending tax payer money. So of course they don't want lower taxes.
Other Must Read Links:
These and many more topics coming up on today’s edition of The Chad Hasty Show. Tune in mornings 8:30-11am on News/Talk 790 KFYO, streaming online at kfyo.com, and now on your iPhone and Android device with the radioPup App. All guest interviews can be heard on our KFYO YouTube page after the show and online at kfyo.com.