Voters to decide on property taxes, roads and where politicians live

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A closer look at three of the statewide ballot propositions voters will decide in the 2015 election. abc13's Steve Campion reports. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File)

With early voting already underway in southeast Texas, you'll face a host of different questions if you head into the ballot box.

There are seven statewide propositions up for a vote among the many local issues. Eyewitness News focused on some of the more talked about measures including Proposition 1, 3, and 7.

If passed, Proposition 1 increases a property owner's homestead exemption from $15,000 to $25,000. Critics contend the state will have to make up the money for local school districts. Experts predict the average homeowner could save between $150 to $200 dollars if the measure is enacted. Many GOP lawmakers campaigned on the idea and pushed for the issue to go to voters.

Proposition 3 is a big talker. The measure would eliminate a requirement in the Texas Constitution that all state officers must live in the Capitol. The rule dates back to the 1800s. Critics argue voters want their leaders in Austin doing work. Supporters counter with current technology, officers can complete their work without having to reside in the Capitol.

Proposition 7 promises better roads across Texas. In Houston, drivers may have noticed the billboards voicing support for the measure along local freeways. If passed, the proposition would shift billions from the state general fund to transportation issues. Critics argue the amendment is unnecessary. Supporters contend it's much needed money for road projects.

Political science professor Brandon Rottinghaus teaches at the University of Houston. Rottinghaus said propositions are placed on the ballot by the state legislature. He explained the Texas constitution requires lawmakers to get the voters' approval before moving forward. He stressed this is your chance to have a real say in matters of government.

"This is the only way to hold public officials accountable for what happens. People complain about politics all the time. This is the best way to get candidates to notice," said Professor Rottinghaus. "If politicians perceive that people don't vote, then they can do whatever they want. These are the best ways to hold these public officials accountable."

For more information about early voting locations in Harris County, visit harrisvotes.org.
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