On Saturday we can accept of the privilege of voting on 22 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution.
Looking at their relevance to the Abilene area, we chose the following Top 3 proposed amendments. We encourage students to read our positions on each of them but to decide for themselves which amendments to accept and which to reject on the ballots this Saturday.
Proposition 3: Most students at ACU are or will be involved in a church. In a few years, some will even lead fund-raisers to buy land and build new facilities. This amendment would exempt religious organizations from paying property taxes on vacant land.
Opponents of this proposition say that religious organizations already enjoy enough tax exemptions. Opponents also say religious organizations could abuse the exemption by delaying construction. Proponents, however, say the amendment would help organizations plan future growth; that while a few religious organizations might abuse the exemption, most would logically begin construction as soon as financially possible. The Optimist supports this proposition.
Proposition 8: The privilege of voting provides a visual, interactive reminder of how our government works. This proposition would allow an unopposed candidate-who is without an eligible write-in candidate-to take office without an election. Proponents of this amendment say it would save time, money and simplify ballots. Opponents disapprove of eliminating an election for the sake of convenience. The Optimist opposes this proposition.
Proposition 20: Dyess Air Force Base makes Abilene a better place to live, just as most military bases improve the cities they’re located in. In 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense will again examine its bases to decide which ones it will close.
Because cities with strong infrastructure are less likely to see their bases closed, this proposition would allow a city with a military base to borrow up to $250 million from the state to improve its infrastructure. Opponents of this proposition argue that the loans won’t guarantee a base will remain open, and that the government shouldn’t spend money to maintain unneeded bases. Proponents argue that the loans could help cities improve their military value, and that defense-related businesses sustain the state’s economy. The Optimist supports this proposition.
All 22 propositions are listed, including background and arguments for and against, at the Texas Legislature Online, www.tlc.state.tx.us/research/analyses 072403/sept13amd.htm. We encourage students to visit the site, decide their positions, and vote on Saturday.