6 On Your Side: Proposition 6

Texas voters have a say about drought relief funding in the state when they head to the polls in the state constitutional amendment election on November 5.

Supporters of Proposition 6 argue Texas is parched and something needs to be done about the diminishing water supply in the Lone Star State.

Jerry Smyers, a Texoma farmer, said, "If it's something that will enhance our situation here concerning water then I'm for anything! We need water."

Emily Graves told Newschannel 6 she plans to vote "yes" for Proposition 6 in the upcoming election. "I am for it... I think that instead of doing last minute emergency things, the city really needs to be proactive in dealing with our water issues," said Graves.

If Texas voters approve Proposition 6, the future of water in the state could be set for the next 50 years. Prop 6 would take $2 billion out of the Rainy Day Fund to create the State Water Implementation Fund for Texas, or SWIFT. SWIFT would, in turn, fund local water and conservation projects across Texas.

Proposition 6 could allow cities to borrow money for water projects at a lower interest rate, without imposing additional taxes on Texas residents.

Governor Rick Perry has campaigned across the Lone Star State the month of October, gathering support for the proposition.

"Through this process, Texas can turn the $2 billion in seed money into $30 billion worth of water projects across our state," said Governor Perry. The governor continued, "This is simply too vital an issue, and too narrow a window of opportunity, to come up short on the brink of meeting our water needs."

City and county leaders in Texoma have also seen the potential benefits for the area.

Wichita County Judge Woody Gossom told Newschannel 6 Anchor Brittany Glas, "Wichita Falls is over 100 years old... We have some of the same sewer and storm water drainage systems that were here when we began... We've got great cooperation here on the water service, but we need to do things to have more water, and this (Proposition 6) will offer that opportunity," said Judge Gossom.

District 69 State Representative James Frank calls the water projects "vital." Representative Frank told Newschannel 6 Proposition 6 would make the state more money in the end.

Texas State Senator Craig Estes (District 30) also supports Prop 6. The state senator said it is a matter of security. "I would urge every citizen to go vote 'yes' on Proposition 6. I think it's a huge step forward... securing the water supplies we're going to need as Texas continues to grow," said Senator Estes.

Opponents question the water plan when Texas already has $6 billion of bonding authority for water projects voters approved in 2011.

Russell Roberts, a member of the leadership council for Wichita Falls Tea Party Patriots, said, "Let them use the authority we approved in 2011 to fund these projects, and then if they have spent that money up to the cap, then we can look at doing something else." Roberts continued, "The financial need for this is not there... Taking $2 billion out of the Rainy Day Fund is irresponsible."

While Newschannel 6 learned a majority of Texoma leaders and residents support Prop 6, area leaders remain somewhat concerned about voter turnout. The concern is heightened because rural communities tend to have lower turnout than larger cities that may be less concerned about water.

To read Proposition 6 in its entirety, along with all 9 propositions up for a vote, click here.

The League of Women Voters of Texas has published a voters guide for Texans who will vote in the constitutional amendment election. You can read their bipartisan guide at lwvtexas.org.

Brittany Glas, Newschannel 6