By Madeline Condor | Staff Writer
With the exception of a proposition to increase the mandatory retirement age for state judges, Texans passed all proposed constitutional amendments on the ballot into law Tuesday. According to McLennan County elections administrator Jared Goldsmith, 538 people voted at the Mark and Paula Hurd Welcome Center, which was a newly appointed voting site on Election Day.
“The number of votes for the entire election was 24,773,” Goldsmith said.
Texas voted in favor of 13 of the 14 proposed constitutional amendments. While they cover a wide variety of areas, some initiatives include protecting the right to farm; providing property tax exemptions for child-care facilities; creating an endowment fund for non-flagship state universities; prohibiting a wealth tax; establishing the Texas water and energy funds; expanding broadband infrastructure; giving raises to retired public school teachers; and providing for the maintenance and creation of state parks.
However, the most conclusive support was for a $18 billion property tax cut package. According to the Texas Secretary of State, 83% of Texans voted in favor of the measure.
Meanwhile, a couple constitutional amendments passed with very narrow margins. For example, only 55% of Texans voted in favor of Proposition 10, which will provide tax exemptions for biomedical companies, and only 52% voted in favor of Proposition 12, which will abolish the Galveston County treasurer.
Tym Smith is the owner of Early Care and Education — a private preschool and after-school program in Coppell, Southlake, Arlington and Flower Mound. He said he has been advocating for property tax exemptions for child care centers for about 16 years and is excited about the passage of that proposition.
“This is a huge win for us, and it’s a good step forward,” Smith said. “[Proposition 2] is going to free up money that we’ve been paying in property taxes so that we can continue to increase salaries for our employees and possibly lower tuition for our families and the cost of operating our program.”
Smith said the measure is important because the cost of running a child care center has gone up dramatically over the last several years — especially in terms of the cost of liability insurance and food.
“With the child care stabilization grant that expired at the end of September and all of the relief funds that have now been exhausted … the property tax exemptions are going to save tens of thousands of licensed child care centers here in Texas,” Smith said.