AUSTIN, Texas (Nexstar) — The May 7 election is just a few weeks away and there is confusion surrounding one of the propositions that has to do with your taxes.
We’ve been hearing from neighbors who say Proposition 1 is difficult to understand.
Here’s how it reads:
“Proposing a constitutional amendment authorizing the legislature to provide for the reduction of the amount of a limitation on the total amount of ad valorem taxes that may be imposed for general elementary and secondary public school purposes on the residence homestead of a person who is elderly or disabled to reflect any statutory reduction from the preceding tax year in the maximum compressed rate of the maintenance and operations taxes imposed for those purposes on the homestead.”
Brent Grablachoff, a Texas voter, said he feels there should be a section below the description on the ballot with language to help people understand what they’re voting for.
“I mean for anyone, even with a Harvard or MIT degree, that’s a lot to digest,” Grablachoff said.
Broken down in simpler terms, if Prop 1 passes, disabled and senior Texans would get a property tax break by paying less to public schools.
“The reality is, when we put something before the voters, it really should be that they’re answering the question ‘yes or no’ — the way they mean to,” a Senate Local Government Interim Committee member said.
The committee addressed confusing language in a hearing last week. Under Texas law, a proposition on a ballot must be the same as it’s written in the state’s constitution.
“You could change the election code,” Keith Ingram, director of the Elections Division at the Texas Secretary of State’s Office, said. “That time in the booth with a prop language is not the time to be educating a voter because that could lead to longer lines.”
No changes can be made, at least for now. If lawmakers want to create legislation and try to get it passed, it could happen in the 2023 Legislative Session.
Dale Craymer with the Texas Tax Payers and Research association said the month of May will already be challenging — confusing ballot language aside.
“Our experience is [that] May turnout generally is lower than other elections. But that doesn’t mean that the voters who are showing up to vote are uninformed,” Craymer said.
Doing your best to be informed before you vote will be key, especially with initiatives that directly impact your wallet.
“I’ll do some research online to figure out what the heck [the propositions] mean,” Grablachoff said.
Early voting begins Monday and runs through May 3.
Polling locations are open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.