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The original item was published from 10/15/2015 4:47:20 PM to 11/6/2015 2:55:19 PM.

News Flash

County Judge

Posted on: October 15, 2015


The November 3rd Constitutional Amendment Election Ballot, will have seven propositions for voters to consider. All but one of the amendments affects a specified group of citizens. The one amendment that affects the lives of all Texans is Proposition 7.

Prop 7, if approved, will allow the use of a specified amount of future sales tax monies to be transferred to the state highway fund for the purpose of constructing transportation projects, and reducing transportation debt. Building of toll roads with this money is prohibited.

In fiscal year 2014, the state collected about $27.3 billion in sales tax. Prop 7 provides that once the sales tax collections reach $28 billion, the next $2.5 billion is transferred to the highway fund. In the event the Texas economy slows down, and sales taxes drop below the $28 billion, no money is transferred.

Funding for current programs is not affected. There are those who are distorting the facts and claiming this sales tax money is being taken from other programs. There is nothing further from the truth. In some parts of the state, this proposition is being used to pit critical transportation needs against education and social services funding. That is unfortunate. The facts are clear.

Texans pay a state fuel tax of 20 cents per gallon. Of the total tax collected 25% goes to public education, 5.7 cents is divided between the State Office of Administrative Hearings, the Attorney General (TxDOT legal services) and the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (research). After the diversions, 9.3 cents remains of the state fuel tax for funding of the state-wide transportation system and paying associated debt costs.

There are many Texans who believe, and rightfully so, the diversions should end. It is easier said than done.

In the November 5, 1946 Constitutional Amendment Election, voters approved dedicating 25% of fuel taxes to education. Therefore, another election would be required to change the allocation.

As for the other diversions, if the legislature were to travel that road, there must be funding to replace those fuel dollars currently diverted. Not an easy task, but over multiple sessions and continued economic growth, it can be done.

Prop 7 will also allocate to the highway fund a portion of the motor vehicle sales tax beginning in 2020.

As Texas continues to experience economic prosperity, we must stay focused on the critical elements that make our state great. Infrastructure is one of those priorities. A good transportation system is one of the best economic engines available.

Approval of Proposition 7 will not increase taxes. Proposition 7 will not build more toll roads.

Proposition 7 will pave the way for future generations to enjoy the Texas quality of life.

Mark Riley
Parker County Judge
Chair, Regional Transportation Council
Vice-Chair, Tarrant Regional Transportation Coalition

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