About Proposition 4: Texas Constitutional Amendments

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This post is from Burnt Orange Report's coverage of the 2009 Constitutional Amendment election. For coverage of the 2011 Constitutional Amendment election, CLICK HERE.

Early voting is on for the Constitutional Amendments election. Today and tomorrow, Burnt Orange Report will be providing some information about the 11 propositions on the ballot. Our aim is to give a broad sense of how different Texas entities perceive these amendments. In the table below, we've compiled their yea, nay, or no-endorse. Sources are all linked at the bottom. Friday, BOR will issue our official endorsements on some or all of these amendments. For more on the Amendment process, see the post on Amendment 1.

Proposition 4: Establishing the National Research University Fund

“To enable [our]emerging research universities in Texas to achieve national prominence, this amendment would establish a new National Research University Fund. The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University would not be eligible to receive money from this fund.” –League of Women Voters Guide

Source: Endorsement:
Austin Chronicle: YES. “A valiant attempt to provide potential research funding to institutions other than the University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M, in the hopes of eventually expanding the number of major research universities statewide. Good luck, since we don't fund the ones we have.”
El Paso Times: YES. “In UTEP's case, it could help the university in its quest for Tier 1 status. Best of all, the National Research University Fund would be funded by transferring the balance of the Higher Education Fund to the NRUF — no burden to taxpayers.”
Fort Worth Star-Telegram: YES. “Texans have to be getting tired of lists that show their state ranking way behind others, especially when it comes to education. In the Nov. 3 constitutional amendment election, they have a chance to start making things right, at least in one crucial way.”
Houston Tea Party Patriots: NO. “Research conducted in the private market is efficient and effective and doesn't involve the use of billions of tax dollars. Moreover, the past has shown that research-oriented universities are more expensive for students and provide a lower-quality education, as professors spend less time in the classroom and more time conducting research projects.”
Sen. Kirk Watson's “Watson Wire:” YES. “There's no secret that increasing the number of top-tier universities has been among my biggest priorities since I took office nearly three years ago.  I'm very excited that Texas will have the chance to take such a big step toward this critical goal next month.”

These posts will continue throughout tomorrow. Endorsements by the Burnt Orange Report staff will follow on Friday.


League of Women Voters Guide (PDF)

Austin Chronicle Endorsements, October 16, 2009

El Paso Times, October 18, 2009

Fort Worth Star-Telegram Endorsements, October 16, 2009

Houston Tea Party Patriots, October 15, 2009

Sen. Kirk Watson's Watson Wire, October 12, 2009


About Author

Katherine Haenschen

Katherine Haenschen is a PhD candidate at the University of Texas, where she studies political participation on digital media. She previously managed successful candidate, issue, voter registration, and GOTV campaigns in Central Texas. She is also a fan of UCONN women's basketball and breakfast tacos.


  1. Houston Tea Party Patriots
    The Houston Tea Party Patriots recommendations appear to actually have come from Americans for Prosperity.

    I don't know if any BOR readers would be interested, but Texans for Fiscal Responsibility made recommendations here (showing how non-partisan some of these issues really are):  http://empowertexans.com/node/

    Thanks for these posts – they are extremely helpful!

  2. David Kobierowski on

    Nice work Katherine.

    Glad I'm not the only one with issues 🙂

    Props 4 (Universities' Research Funding), Prop 9 (beaches), and Prop 11 (Eminent Domain) are the biggies.

    I'm looking forward to the endorsements.



  3. Spot of Tea
    Does anyone else find the ignorance of HTPP disturbing? This is the exact rationale that governs our state.

    It fires me up. It makes me want to knock on doors and make phone calls encouraging Democrats to vote en masse. 2010 is going to be a good year.

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