Published Oct 05, 2023 by Taylor Landin
In the weeks before early voting, the Greater Houston Partnership will share essential information on the 2023 ballot initiatives that will impact our region. This week, we focus on state Propositions 8 and 10, which would allow Texas to expand its broadband infrastructure and become more competitive in attracting the medical and biomedical manufacturing industries. We will also go deeper into Harris County’s bond proposal, which would upgrade and enhance the hospital district’s facilities.
Equitable access to reliable, high-speed broadband provides economic opportunities to all Texans, and investment in broadband expansion enables local communities to thrive. However, U.S. Census Bureau data indicate almost 2.8 million Texas households and 7 million people lack broadband access.
To close this digital divide, Proposition 8 creates the constitutionally dedicated Broadband Infrastructure Fund (BIF). The BIF will assist in financing connectivity projects and invest $1.5 billion toward expanding broadband infrastructure around the state, enabling Texas to successfully draw down funds from the federal Broadband Equity, Access, & Deployment (BEAD) Program.
If approved by the voters, Proposition 8 will ensure our communities remain connected, competitive, and adaptable in the face of whatever challenges and opportunities tomorrow may bring.
As Texas strives to become a hub for life sciences, our state needs to become a more attractive place for companies in the medical and biomedical industry to relocate.
By the numbers: Texas has one of the highest effective tax rates for the medical and biomedical manufacturing sector, taxing these businesses over 28%. For comparison, none of Texas’ largest competitors taxes the same industry more than 13.5%.
Proposition 10 is a constitutional amendment to exempt medical and biomedical manufacturers from the state’s inventory and equipment taxes, therefore reducing the effective tax rate for these manufacturers. If voters approve Proposition 10, Texas would be more attractive for existing medical and biomedical manufacturers to expand while also drawing new innovators to Texas from around the country and around the world.
The Harris Health System, our county’s hospital district, has provided care and served the residents of Harris County for nearly six decades. Acting as the county’s safety net care system and operating one of our two Level I Trauma Centers, the system is an integral part of our health care ecosystem.
By the numbers: Harris County's population has more than doubled in the past 30 years to nearly five million residents, while the facilities run by Harris Health have decreased in capacity, and many are nearing the end of their lifespans. This drastic increase in population over the decades has necessitated the need for an additional Level I Trauma Center, especially one located outside of the Texas Medical Center that is more easily accessible to all residents.
Harris County Proposition A seeks voter approval of a $2.5 billion bond issuance for constructing a new Level I Trauma Center, a new hospital, and other upgrades and investments in the Harris Health system’s facilities.
Important Election Information:
View the Greater Houston Partnership’s Ballot 2023 Initiative Guide before you head to the polls.
Important Election Information:
Find more information on each of these ballot measures supported by the Greater Houston Partnership at Houston.org/2023ballot.