Says Texas voters are being asked to act this November on a proposed constitutional amendment affecting property taxes.
Chain email on Thursday, October 7th, 2010 in a chain e-mail.
Chain e-mail says voters should beware of Texas propositions affecting property taxes on homesteads
"TRUE OR FALSE?" a reader wrote us Oct. 7, though he wasn't talking about a candidate's pronouncement.
Instead, the reader was forwarding an e-mail titled "State Propositions on Ballot to Tax Homesteads / November." It warns that there are three propositions on the November ballot "allowing the state of Texas to start taxing residential homeowners. So if you own a home, and these laws are passed, you will be taxed by the state."
The e-mail goes on: "I received a flyer from the (Texas) Secretary of State, Hope Andrade, listing the propositions that are up for election. I called to question them before sending this message out to my homeowner friends."
Whoa, Nellie. Stop the presses.
We are certain that there are no propositions on the statewide ballot Nov. 2. We figure too that Andrade, the state's chief elections officer, knows this and would have told a caller so.
Still, it's our duty at PolitiFact Texas to check stuff out. So we left Andrade a message and began our research.
Our first find: The Longview News-Journal had beat us to it. In an Oct. 14 news article, the newspaper found the same e-mail misleading.
"This is a good example of why we should approach the random e-mails that make it to our in boxes with a big question mark," the newspaper reminded readers. "There are no statewide propositions on the Nov. 2 ballot. Texas voted on these propositions in 2009, and that's why the date in this e-mail was wrong if you're living in 2010."
Oh, right. On Nov. 3, 2009, Texas voters approved 11 proposed constitutional amendments including Propositions 1, 2 and 3. Proposition 1 related to tax increment financing by cities and counties, Proposition 2 permitted state lawmakers to tie property taxes on a residence homestead solely to the property's value as a homestead and Proposition 3 provided for uniform standards and procedures for the appraisal of property for property tax purposes, according to summaries placed online by the secretary of state's office.
As the Longview newspaper noted, the propositions "did not create state property taxes as the e-mail claimed."
The newspaper quotes Randall Dillard, Andrade's spokesman, saying that the same e-mail circulated before the 2009 election, and it's apparently still making the rounds. "It was inaccurate in 2009," Dillard said, "and it's inaccurate for the November 2010 election as well."
Four days after the Longview article was published, Andrade posted a press release online stating there are no statewide propositions on the 2010 ballot. If voters want to check into anything on the ballot, the state recommends an online visit to www.votexas.org or a telephone call to the secretary of state at 1-800-252-8683.
Finally, we went back to the chain e-mail and noticed a clear clue that it's out of date; it provides a web link to an inactive web page about the 2009 elections.
Pants on Fire!
Published: Thursday, October 21st, 2010 at 6:00 a.m.
E-mail, reader inquiry to PolitiFact Texas, Oct. 7, 2010
Interview, Randall Dillard, communications director, Texas Secretary of State, Oct. 20, 2010
Longview News-Journal, news article, "What propositions are on the Nov. 2 ballot?," Oct. 14, 2010 (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
Texas Secretary of State, press release, "Despite rumors, Nov. 2 ballot does not include statewide propositions," Oct. 18, 2010, and web page, "Ballot Language and Order for the November 3rd, 2009 Constitutional Amendment Election" and "Results" (accessed Oct. 20, 2010)
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