On Tuesday, the polls open across Texas for the Nov. 5 ballot election, which boasts nine propositions for state constitutional amendments and, in Austin, one for the creation of an affordable housing bond. Students looking to vote in between classes can go to the Flawn Academic Center, where they can cast their ballots anytime between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Yes, we know — we’ve been harping on this election for quite some time, but if you feel the temptation to slip through the day without visiting the ballot box, consider the possible implications of the failure of the affordable housing bond proposition.
The affordable housing bond, if passed, would allow Austin to borrow $65 million to invest in the creation and maintenance of affordable housing projects across the city. Austin has the highest median housing prices of any major Texas city, and helping those who currently cannot afford decent housing has more benefits than just the satisfaction of being charitable. For one, as we mentioned in our endorsements yesterday, a community in which people aren’t struggling to stay in housing is a safer, more stable, more prosperous community. And the bond is expected to pay for itself, without raising taxes at all — despite the shrill claims of the Travis County Taxpayers’ Union, who succeeded in being as abhorrent as possible by comparing the bond to rape during a protest in October.
A similar initiative failed last year, and we worry that history could repeat itself this time around. That was in large part because of the fact that, according to a poll conducted later by Austin Housing Works and Ending Community Homelessness Coalition, about one-fifth of those polled said they voted no because they hadn’t been informed about the bond beforehand and didn’t understand the vague language of the ballot description. There’s no good reason for that to happen again, so if you vote for nothing else tomorrow, it’s important that you at least support this highly beneficial project.