By Hailey Persinger
Killeen Daily Herald
State Rep. Jimmie Don Aycock presented 11 reasons voters should head to the polls in November during Friday's meeting of the Rotary Club of Killeen Heights.
The Bell County representative listed all 11 constitutional amendment proposals that voters will cast their ballots for on Nov. 3 but he gave special attention to several items including a proposal to funnel more money into the state's research universities and regulations on property appraisal procedures.
Proposition 4 would establish a fund that would give seven of the state's public universities $50 million each year for research purposes. Aycock said that money would make an enormous difference in the quality of universities like Texas Tech University, University of Texas-El Paso and University of Texas-Arlington. The legislature's goal is to have as many sought-after colleges as possible, which in turn could bring in federal research grants and funding.
"This is critical," he said. "The potential future impact of that is huge. We're hopeful that at least three or four of them will reach that status within 10 to 15 years."
Though the proposition does not allot money for Texas A&M University-Central Texas, which will officially call Killeen home in 2011, Aycock said the fight is on during every legislative session to garner as much monetary support from the state as possible.
"We'll go after it every session 'til hell freezes over," he said. "Squeaky wheel always gets grease and we're going to squeak real loudly."
Several of the 11 proposed amendments target the issue of property appraisals, an item Aycock spoke out for. Proposition 2 would require the state to tax residences only as residences even if the property would be worth more if used for other purposes. Proposition 3 would require legislators to set across-the-board standards for appraisals and proposition 5 would allow an appraisal boards to consolidate efforts when it comes time to size up a property for tax purposes.
"Are you seeing a pattern?" Aycock said. "The appraisal process has become a problem in Texas and this is trying to resolve that."
Despite busy legislative sessions and constant efforts to get issues heard, Lisa Griffin, the club's president said Aycock shows up to the meetings consistently. Though he does not always speak about pressing issues like voting, "when he's out of session, he's here every Friday as a friend," she said.
Contact Hailey Persinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7568.