Today is the last day to vote

Tuesday is the last day to cast an early ballot at one of 52 polling locations across Harris County, where voters are deciding the fate of two statewide constitutional amendments, dozens of local bond measures and a host of elections for school board and suburban city council seats.

The polls will reopen Saturday, Election Day, at 465 locations throughout the county. On both days — Tuesday and Saturday — polling locations are scheduled to open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.

A full list of early voting and Election Day polling sites can be found on the Harris County Elections Administrator’s website, along with a sample ballot. Voters can cast their ballots at any location in the county, including those outside their home precincts.

Appearing on ballots across Texas are a pair of proposed amendments to the state constitution, both related to property taxes. One would provide property tax relief to seniors and disabled homeowners, and the other would raise the state’s homestead exemption for school property taxes.

Collectively, Harris County voters will decide about $4.3 billion worth of bond measures proposed by school districts, municipal utility districts, improvement districts and a water authority. Among the proposals is a $1.1 billion Klein ISD package that would fund a new intermediate school, security improvements, renovations across eight campuses and the construction of a new events center.

Huffman, Humble, Pasadena and Sheldon ISDs also have called bond elections on May 7.

Also up for consideration are more than $1 billion in bond measures for 10 municipal utility, improvement and water districts across Harris County, largely for sewer, drainage, road and parks improvements. Additionally, 29 municipal utility and improvement districts have contested elections for their boards of directors.

Meanwhile, voters in Friendswood, Humble, Jersey Village, La Porte, Nassau Bay, Pearland and Webster will elect multiple city council members in the May 7 election. Ballots in Friendswood, Humble and La Porte also include proposed charter amendments, while Nassau Bay voters will decide a mayoral race.

There also are contested elections for the Houston Community College System and Waller ISD boards of trustees.

Two candidates are running to succeed Rep. Garnet Coleman in the Texas House: Jolanda Jones, a former member of Houston city council and the Houston ISD board of trustees, and realtor Danielle Keys Bess. The winner will represent the deeply blue House District 147 until the current two-year term ends in January.

Jones and Bess, both Democrats, also are running for the seat next term. They finished first and second, respectively, in the March 1 primary, and are competing in a May 24 runoff to decide the Democratic nominee for November.

The district, one of the most diverse in the state, covers Midtown, Third Ward, a majority of Montrose and other parts of Houston’s urban core. It also takes in the University of Houston and a large chunk of southeast Houston along Interstate 45.

Coleman, citing health reasons, retired from the Legislature after more than 30 years in the state House.

The constitutional amendments, meanwhile, are expected to pass with overwhelming support, likely cementing two key property tax measures passed by state lawmakers last year.

One proposal would allow property owners to shave $40,000 off the taxable value of their home, an increase of $15,000 from the existing school district homestead exemption. State Sen. Paul Bettencourt, the Houston Republican who authored the amendment, has estimated homeowners would save about $176 a year by raising the homestead exemption.

The other amendment would extend the Legislature’s 2019 cuts on school property tax rates to elderly and disabled homeowners, providing a rare decrease in their annual bills.

Under the Texas Constitution, school property taxes for most property owners are frozen at the amount they paid upon turning 65, while homeowners with disabilities receive the same benefit when they buy a new property. Though that provision leaves many senior and disabled homeowners with lower tax bills than some of their neighbors, it also means they did not directly benefit from the tax relief provided by the 2019 measure, as their tax bills were already frozen.

The 2019 property tax measure caps the amount of year-to-year revenue school districts can collect. With home values skyrocketing across Texas, most districts have had to reduce their tax rates each year to remain within the revenue cap.

If the constitutional amendment passes, those whose taxable property values are locked in place by existing laws would have their taxes “unfrozen” each year, allowing them to benefit from the lower property tax rates. The taxes would then be “refrozen,” Bettencourt said, leading to a decrease in their bill.

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