Election 2013: What's on the ballot?

Polls opened Monday for early voting leading up to the November election. No matter where you live, you'll be seeing at least nine propositions on the ballot.

Those issues include a relaxation on taxes for companies that store aircraft parts, a cut in taxes on the estates of military veterans killed in action as well as wounded veterans, a plan that modifies reverse mortgage loans, more freedom for cities to define how to fill vacancies in expired positions that are close to coming up for a vote anyway, and a plan for how to deal with continued drought conditions statewide.

For years we've known that an extended drought could easily leave Texans without water.

"We have a drought that is encompassing 88% of our state," Civil Engineer Vik Verma said. "Yet we take water for granted."

Verma said the math behind plans for new reservoirs is simple--because a lot of businesses need reliable access to water.

"And if we don't have that, then business is likely to go elsewhere," he said.

In other words, Verma said, the Proposition 6 plan to borrow $2 billion from the rainy day fund is more of an investment in the state's future.

"I believe this is the right thing to do," Republican State Representative Matt Schaefer said. "It's the wrong way to do it."

Schaefer fought for a different plan during this year's legislative session. His goal was to procure the same funding out of general revenue, which he said is more tightly controlled. The representative said taking the money from the rainy day fund is essentially exploiting a loop hole.

"That's an accounting gimmick,"' Schaefer said. "There's no reason that we had to do that."

Everyone in East Texas will have to decide what to do about Proposition 6. But people in parts of Smith County have yet another wet dry election on the ballot.

"It would boost our business," Tanja McKinney said.

McKinney manages a Kidd Jones store outside Tyler's west loop.

"We've had people stop in and say 'oh you don't have beer?'" she said. "And they leave. They turn around and walk out."

McKinney and others in Smith County Justice of the Peace Precincts 1 and 4 are asking for an even playing field to put them on par with all the stores in Tyler and the south part of the county that have already gone wet.

Another hot topic is Chapel Hill ISD's $31 million school bond.

Most of it is going to new and renovated areas at the middle school and the high school. It would be accompanied by a tax increase of about $120 a year on a $100,000 home.


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