Gubernatorial candidates Greg Abbott and Wendy Davis are throwing their support behind the constitutional amendment that would fund projects designed to help the state meet its growing need for water.
Abbott, the state's attorney general, has not been a vocal advocate of Prop 6 — which must get voter approval to go into effect — but his campaign said he intends to vote for it. So does Davis, a state senator from Fort Worth.
Early voting in the constitutional amendment election started Monday and ends Nov. 1. Election Day is Nov. 5.
The amendment would siphon $2 billion out of the state’s Rainy Day Fund and create a water development bank. Supporters say Prop 6, put before voters during a deep drought, is needed to ensure Texas has enough water as the population booms over the next 50 years.
But some outspoken conservatives, including comptroller hopeful Debra Medina, have criticized the measure as fiscally unwise and unnecessary.
Abbott spokesman Matt Hirsch said in a written statement that the attorney general supports the one-time draw but he was described as less than enthusiastic about it.
“First and foremost, Greg Abbott believes we must protect the Rainy Day Fund from being spent down by clearly defining and limiting its uses,” Hirsch said. “As governor, he would limit the legitimate uses of the Rainy Day Fund to cover unexpected budgetary shortfalls, debt retirement, emergencies due to disasters and one-time infrastructure payments.”
“In his view, while it's not the perfect law, Proposition 6 seems to satisfy this standard, ensuring a one-time withdrawal, no new state debt, no tax increases and no new fees,” Hirsch added.
Abbott’s main primary opponent, former Texas Workforce Commission Chairman Tom Pauken — who has been critical of Abbott for what he says is a failure to take clear positions on issues that could alienate certain groups of voters — said he was dealing with “mixed feelings” regarding Prop 6. He said he “probably will vote for it” while criticizing the Legislature for not passing it without going to voters for approval.
Pauken has hammered Abbott for failing to take clear positions on certain issues that could alienate groups of voters.
Davis voted to set up the constitutional amendment when it came up in the state Senate, and her campaign said she would vote for it.
After the measure passed, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram quoted Davis as saying she would encourage Texans to approve it.
“I think voters in Texas understand the challenges that we face with our water needs here,” Davis told the paper. “I definitely will speak in my district about it and certainly encourage the consideration of its passage in my district."
Davis plans to cast her vote for it on Monday in Fort Worth.