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ogrwitiograii444 ,4444,1010.#0, 011.111615,05M?:, … vote. CPTC points out that this means they can also hold office and uses the provision as an argument against adoption. Most compassionate people will regard it as a good provision. The present constitution says that only property owners may vote in elections in political subdivisions for issuing bonds or spending money, and this fortunately has been held unconstitutional. The new document takes another run at the subject, letting the Legislature require property ownership as a qualification for voting in political subdivision elections to authorize property taxes or issue bonds payable from such taxes, or “in an election held by a special district orauthority that principally engages in special or limited activities that have a disproportionate effect on property owners.” This is noxious. I think the plus and the minus here weigh about the same, so that whether I will vote aye or no depends on the “ninth PROPOSITION 4 The education section continues the UT and Texas A&M permanent and available university funds, increases the bonding authority for the permanent fund from 20 percent to 30 percent, and contains some important double-talk about equal educational opportunity. Many progressives oppose the special UT-A&M funds as hurtful to other state colleges and universities, but I do not. My personal identification with UT, of which I am an alumnus, should be considered here, but I also believe abstractly that any state system needs some concentration of resources to create Some higher-quality academic institutions for students that benefit from their existence. On the other Bob Wieland RY: ‘Vast profits, low taxes’ hand, increasing the bonding authority to give Allan Shivers, et al., what Bullock estimates to be $80 million more to spend on bricks, chancellor’s mansions, and the like is in the main a negative. The state’s free public school system, the education article provides, “must furnish each individual an equal educational opportunity, but a school district may provide local enrichment of educational programs exceeding the level provided by the state consistent with general law.” This sounds like something new, but in fact describes the present minimumfoundation plan with sharp inequalities among districts caused by tax bases ranging from rich to poor. This flummery brings at once to mind the question of voting no to get another go at the subject a few years down the road. The article’s expansion of free textbooks to include “other instructional materials authorized by law” and the authorization for the UT-A&M funds to be spent for capital improvements and libraries would be steps forward. But on the central issue of equal educational opportunity among the school districts, Proposition 4 fails. I think no. PROPOSITION 5 Proposition 5, the finance section, is a shell game. Watch closely. As under the present constitution, real property and tangible personal property must be taxed equally and uniformly. However, under the present constitution, intangible property such as stocks and bonds is not mentioned separately and is supposed to be taxed. The new document leaves whether to tax such property up to the Legislature. Except, says Proposition 5, for timberland and “open-space land devoted to farm or ranch purposes,” which would be taxed, by “separate formulas,” obviously by productive, not market, value. This is the land speculators’ loophole. The present constitution limits the farm and ranchland exception to “natural persons.” The new document extends it to corporations. The present constitution limits the exemption to owners for whom farming is the “primary occupation and source of income.” The new document drops that limitation, too. Former Sen. Ralph Yarborough’s condemnation of June, 1974, still applies: “Promoters and speculators could buy up vast and valuable acreages on the outskirts of cities, hold it with little taxes, though it may have high value, stymieing the growth of the city in their direction, and reap vast profits from the low taxes while the homeowner, the small businessman, the working people, the working rancher, and the working farmer are taxed to the hilt to support cities and schools.” The finance section, as Bullock’s people discovered, also changes the historic homestead exemption from $3,000 on assessed value to $3,000 on appraised value, costing homeowners $1 million a year. The Legislature is authorized to raise the $3,000 figure, but Bullock says it would have to go to $7,000 to match the homeowners’ loss. Literature from the , pros’ statewide organization, “Citizens for the [Proposed] Texas Constitution,” states, “The homestead exemption from state ad valorem taxes was continued,” but as per Bullock’s study, this is quite misleading. On the other hand, the exemption is made mandatory for all Bob Wieland Bullock: No to finance persons 65 or older, which would require 500 cities, counties, and school districts to extend it that do not now do so \(at a cost Each county could have only one tax appraising authority, and the Legislature is ordered to provide uniform standards for property appraisal. The $80 million annual ceiling on welfare would be done away with, a fact that distresses the big-money opponents and most reformers would favor. The trick in the UT System of issuing construction bonds on college tuition income and building use fees would be precluded. The Legislature could grant relief from property taxes on homes “because of economic circumstance and either age or disability.” The dedication of motoring-related taxes to highways, perpetuating pollution, and to schools, precluding use of that money for educational equalization, would continue. Advocates of mass transit consider the continuation of the highway fund a major drawback to the new charter. The proponents of the new charter have an interesting counter. They point out that the new constitution specifically exempts “gross production, petroleum products manufacturing, and ad valorem taxes” from the dedicated fund. If the Legislature should ever decide to tax gas at the refinery instead of at the pump, the highway fund would shrivel and die. The Legislature, of course, has never shown such an inclination, but proponents argue that a refinery tax could become feasible as October 31, 1975 5