Voters in Harris, Smith, Brazos and Howard counties also have important bond votes today to decide whether to build new jails. Of these, only Howard's new jail is justified - officials in the other three counties just need to focus more on solutions and less on thumping their chests about being tuff on crime.
"What is ... disturbing is that the Legislature didn't even bother to tell the voters what the entire $1 BILLION would be spent on. They have outlined $717.3 million, leaving an astounding $282.7 MILLION at their discretion. Are the taxpayers of Texas this gullible?"-Lone Star State of Texas Blog
What Others Say About Proposition 4: "If you can't staff the prisons you've got, how can we afford to build more?"
Americans for Prosperity is another organization AGAINST Proposition 4 because $57 million in General Revenue funds have been obligated to pay for debt service payments. Though many of these projects need funding, taxpayers should not have to fund them through General Obligation bonds; Texas has a budget surplus and should use a portion of that money to fund these projects. Find out what Americans for Prosperity has to say about Proposition 4 here.
Find out why the Restorative Justice Ministries Network is against Proposition 4 here.
The Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) currently has a massive shortage of correctional officers. Taking this into account, how can they expect to staff 3 new prisons? Check out a video about why correctional officers don't support building new prisons.
Check out the Grits for Breakfast blog post, Arguments you won't hear in TV ads about new prisons and Proposition 4. Included is an additional video that shows why new prisons (and Proposition 4) are bad solutions to our criminal justice dilemma.
Cast your vote today, November 6!
To find out where to vote, call the Texas Secretary of State voter information line toll-free at (800) 252-VOTE. More information is on the Secretary of State's Voter Information web page.
TCJC strongly opposes Proposition 4 for the following reasons:
The 80th Legislature set up a system of prison diversions (alternatives to incarceration) so that the construction of new adult facilities would be unnecessary.
Proposition 4 prematurely calls for the construction of three new prisons ($273.4 million). There is simply no need for new prison construction, especially when TDCJ does not have enough prison guards to adequately staff current prisons.
Criminal justice concerns aside, Proposition 4 would give voters no future say over how bond proceeds would be allocated or spent. PROP. 4 sets aside close to $300 million-with no specific purpose!
Though Proposition 4 does provide funding for a much-needed regionalization of Texas Youth Commission facilities, the negative aspects of Prop. 4 far outweigh these positive concessions.
Vote NO on Proposition 4! State lawmakers should go back to the drawing board and come up with a better plan that doesn't waste valuable tax dollars on unnecessary prisons.
Read More About Proposition 4
Check out the House Research Analysis report on this Constitutional AmendmentProposition 4, dealing with general obligation bonds for state agency construction and repair projects, has TCJC's attention. Read this analysis to have a better understanding of the outcomes of this $1 billion dollar proposition.
View ALL 16 Propositions
Be well-informed! Read the House Research Analysis Focus Report to learn how each of these propositions will affect you and the State of Texas. This will help you decide which propositions you are in favor of and which ones you oppose.
You can also check out Representative Scott Hochberg's website, which outlines the propositions as well.
Finally, here's an election-day themed video from the Drug Policy Alliance to cap off the post - I've linked to it before, but it pretty much tells the story of why Texas pols put Prop 4 on the ballot. Everybody go vote, and check back on Grits tonight for prison and jail building results.