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Election information: Proposition 8

By Victoria Advocate
Oct. 16, 2013 at 5:16 a.m.


Editor's Note: The Advocate is offering information about the upcoming constitutional amendment election Nov. 5. This feature, provided by the League of Women Voters, will look at the pros and cons of each of the nine amendments on the ballot. This is a look at Proposition 8.

Official ballot language

The constitutional amendment repealing Section 7, Article IX, Texas Constitution, which relates to the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County.

Explanation

Proposition 8 would remove from the Texas Constitution a 1960 amendment that authorized the creation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County with a maximum tax rate of 10 cents per $100 valuation of taxable property. This limit is below all other counties in Texas, and no hospital district has been created in Hidalgo County. Repealing the 1960 amendment, which applies only to Hidalgo County, would allow it to come under Section 4 of the Texas Constitution which provides for hospital districts in all counties, with a maximum tax rate of 75 cents per $100 valuation of all taxable property.

If Proposition 8 is passed, the formation of a hospital district in Hidalgo County and the district's tax rate would require approval from the county's voters during an election.

Arguments for

• Hidalgo is the only county in the state with a tax limitation of 10 cents per $100 property valuation. It is also the largest county without a hospital district. The existing limitation hinders its ability to create and operate a sustainable district. Passage of Proposition 8 would allow Hidalgo County the same taxing rate that other counties have.

• Hidalgo County has a high rate of uninsured residents, and this proposition could help the county establish a hospital district and obtain federal funds for much-needed emergency care for the poor.

Arguments against

• Passage of this proposition would likely increase the taxes for property owners in Hidalgo County, since a hospital district could be created with a tax rate as high as 75 cents per $100 valuation of all property.

• An increase in taxes could hurt the very people this proposition is hoping to serve: the poor.

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