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66 chapter 2 the texas constitution the preservation

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66CHAPTER 2THE TEXAS CONSTITUTIONthe preservation of the liberties and rights of the people.” Section 1 makes it a duty of thestate legislature to support and maintain “an efficient system of public free schools.” TheTexas Supreme Court’s interpretation of this provision as applying to school funding inthe state has led to political battles over school finance for 40 years. Sections 2–8 providefor the funding of public education and the creation of a State Board of Education tooversee the operations of elementary and secondary education. Article 7 also providesfor the establishment and funding of a “University of the first class” to be called “TheUniversity of Texas” as well as an “agricultural and mechanical college” (Texas A&MUniversity). Provisions were later included to fund other state universities and colleges.State universities are the subject of over half of Article 7, where detailed discussions ofthe funding and operations of particular state institutions are put directly into the text.Article 8: Taxation and RevenueThe complex issue of taxation is the subject of Article 8, where once again we find ahighly detailed account of several important policy issues built directly into the text ofthe constitution. One of the most controversial sections of the Texas Constitution dur-ing the 2019 session centered on the issue of the income tax. Section 1 of Article 8 ofthe 1876 Constitution enabled the legislature to tax the income of individuals and busi-nesses. But, as we will discuss in the Citizen’s Guide to this chapter, the legislaturerefrained from doing so. In 1993 a constitutional amendment was passed (Article 8, Sec-tion 24) which required that a personal income tax be approved by the voters and thatthe proceeds from it be dedicated to education and tax relief. In 2019, Article 8, Sec-tion 24 was replaced by another amendment which repealed Section 24 entirely by pro-hibiting any income tax on individuals. As with other portions of the constitution, the neteffect of Article 8, Section 21a provisions was to curtail severely what the state legislaturecan do and how it can do it. If Section 24a of Article 8 is any indication, the public fearof unresponsive and potentially tyrannical governme nt is as alive today as it was in 1876.Articles 9 and 11: Local GovernmentThese articles provide highly detailed discussions of the creation, organization, andoperation of counties and municipal corporations.Articles 10, 12, 13, and 14These heavily revised articles deal with a series of specific topics: the railroads (10),private corporations (12), Spanish and Mexican land titles (13), and public lands (14).Article 10 empowers the state to regulate railroads and to establish the Railroad Com-mission. Article 12 empowers the state to create general laws creating private corpo-rations and protecting the public and individual stockholders. Article 13, now entirelyrepealed, dealt with the nineteenth-century issue of Spanish and Mexican land titles.

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