Big Government Down-Ballot

Races at the top of the ticket always get the most attention, but the proposals, initiatives, and referendums down-ballot often hit Texan’s wallets the hardest. Austin, San Antonio, Houston and El Paso are where the most noteworthy pushes for higher taxes and more spending are taking place this November.

Austinites will be voting on Democrat Sen. Kirk Watson’s pet project when they head to the polls. His proposal for a new medical school will cost approximately $1.3 billion just to build. That doesn’t include estimates for the annual maintenance and operations costs taxpayers will pay, either through local taxes or tax dollars that flow into The University of Texas at Austin.

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The average Austin homeowner can expect to see $277 more annually on their property tax bill if a 5-cent tax hike in Travis County’s Central Health District is approved to pay for it.

San Antonio is set to vote on a 1/8-cent sales tax hike to fund a city-operated pre-K program. Unfortunately for local taxpayers, Mayor Julian Castro doesn’t seem to be concerned with the perils of adding a new layer of government to run a program already available with local school districts.

The San Antonio Tea Party has done a great job summarizing all the reasons why San Antonio taxpayers should vote this proposal down.

El Paso is seeking to spend over a hundred million dollars to subsidize construction of a Triple-A baseball stadium and major league soccer field, among other projects. Why construction of professional sports venues is so important that it warrants a 4-cent tax hike in this economy has yet to be determined.

And then there’s Houston ISD’s $1.9 billion bond package up for a vote this November. The 5-cent tax hike necessary to pay for this bond proposal won’t be phased in until 2017, long after taxpayers forget voting for a tax increase! Of course, there doesn’t seem to be much of an outcry over the fact that many of the projects from their 2007 bond initiative are still not finished.

These are some of the most egregious examples, but don’t think living outside a major metropolitan area will exempt you from bigger government. Texas ranks only behind California in local government debt for a reason.

Now is a perfect time to start studying the bottom of the ballot to see how it will impact your wallet.

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Dustin Matocha

Dustin Matocha is the Executive Vice President of Empower Texans. Dustin graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a BBA in Management, a BA in Government, and a minor in Marketing. He’s a self-described Corvette enthusiast, baseball purist, tech geek and growing connoisseur of local craft beer.

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