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Proposition 6: Where the Statewide Candidates Stand on Water Funding

The Tribune polled all candidates running for statewide office to determine whether they support or oppose Proposition 6. Scroll through this table to see where each of them stands.

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Amid an extended severe drought and a burgeoning population, Texas is faced with finding a solution to ensure that the state's water needs are met now and in the future.

On Nov. 5, Texans will vote on Proposition 6, a proposal to amend the state Constitution to create a water development bank for projects designated to help meet the state's need for water. The proposition would allow the state to divert $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund, the state's savings account, to fund these projects.

Some lawmakers oppose the measure and are urging Texans to vote against Proposition 6, arguing it would give too much power to the three-member Water Development Board, which would oversee how the funds are used. But Gov. Rick Perry and other state leaders have said that the measure is critical to meeting the state's water needs and that they support it because it is limited to a one-time draw from the Rainy Day Fund.

The Texas Tribune polled all candidates running for statewide office to determine whether they support or oppose Proposition 6. Scroll through this table to see where they stand.

CandidateOfficeParty AffiliationSupports? (Y/N)
Greg Abbott Governor R Y
Supports as a one-time measure. “First and foremost, Greg Abbott believes we must protect the Rainy Day Fund from being spent down by clearly defining and limiting its uses,” spokesman Matt 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.”
Wendy Davis Governor D Y
“I think voters in Texas understand the challenges that we face with our water needs here,” Davis told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I definitely will speak in my district about it and certainly encourage the consideration of its passage in my district."
Tom Pauken Governor R Undecided
"I’m concerned about the water issue. But I don’t like the three full-time appointed commissioners. As governor, if this does pass, I will change the makeup of that commission. I worry about politicization of this issue under the commission. I’m also concerned about local control of water rights. I don’t want to see a commission that has the authority to take water rights away from property owners and local areas. I’m for a major commitment to water. I wish the Legislature had addressed this from legislative standpoint."
Kathie Glass Governor L N
"I say nix Prop 6. It would change our Constitution to create a three-man board appointed by the governor to basically control Texas groundwater. Nobody should have that power."
David Dewhurst Lt. Governor R Y
Dan Patrick Lt. Governor R Y
Todd Staples Lt. Governor R Y
"We are in a historic drought, and future jobs are on the line. I plan to vote in favor of Proposition 6 because it meets a critical need without raising taxes or increasing fees."
Jerry Patterson Lt. Governor R Y
"If the 2011 drought, the worst in recorded Texas history, isn't worthy of spending money set aside for unforeseen disasters, I don't know what is." — statement from spokesman Chris Elam
Brandon de Hoyos Lt. Governor L N
"I am a strong opponent of Prop 6, as it serves not to augment water production for the rural Texans that need it, but the theft of existing water supply from those families for use by metropolitan areas. It should concern all Texans that supporters propose we pay for this new water plan using an emergency fund."
Ed Kless Lt. Governor L N
"It seems to me that this smacks of crony capitalism. And the money is going to be used to line the pockets of the companies that are going to get these contracts to fix this well situation. I would much rather that this kind of situation be handled by the free market."
Dan Branch Attorney General R Y
"With surging population growth, ongoing water rationing in many Texas communities, and many of our state's farmers and ranchers planning for severe drought conditions, now is the time to act to preserve our strong economy and future water capacity."
Barry Smitherman Attorney General R Did not respond
Ken Paxton Attorney General R Y
"Infrastructure spending is a legitimate function of state government, especially on roads and water. However, I was disappointed that the Legislature didn't prioritize spending within available general revenue rather than tapping the Economic Stabilization Fund for this purpose. That is why I voted against the budget and supplemental spending bills that would fund a State Water Implementation Fund. Nonetheless, I intend to vote for Prop 6 because the vibrancy of our state depends on water infrastructure."
Tom Glass Attorney General L N
"I’m opposed to going around the existing constitutional limits on growth that this constitutional amendment will enable. And I think that we do not need to give more power to an unelected board that can be very easily used as a slush fund for the rich and powerful to become more rich and powerful."
Glenn Hegar Comptroller R Y
"Texas is doing obviously very well economically. But one of the things, as you looked at states north of here in the U.S., they said because of drought issues here in Texas, they don’t go to Texas because we don’t have water. And so I think that this is really important from a wide variety of reasons."
Debra Medina Comptroller R N
“There’s a water crisis in Texas but not a funding crisis, so pulling $2 billion out of the Rainy Day Fund away from the oversight of the Legislature and the people is a breach on another precious resource.”
Harvey Hilderbran Comptroller R Y
"Chairman Hilderbran supports Proposition 6 because, as the next Texas comptroller, he understands that for our economic development water is too important to the future of Texas." — Hilderbran consultant Matt Mackowiak
Raul Torres Comptroller R N
"I don’t support it. It’s not the fix that I think people were looking for. They wanted a solution rather than a small token in the right direction. I think we can do a better job than just set up a lone committee, creating more government."
Mike Collier Comptroller D Y
George P. Bush Land Commissioner R Did not respond
David Watts Land Commissioner R N
"Water is critically important for the future of Texas. However, I am not convinced that Proposition 6 establishes an effective or transparent mechanism for properly addressing the future water needs of Texas."
Ed Tidwell Land Commissioner L Did not respond
John Cook Land Commissioner D Did not respond
Kinky Friedman Agriculture Commissioner D Y
"While Kinky gives Proposition 6 a tentative 'yes' vote, it is but a small step toward a cogent state policy for water use in Texas. Something has to be done immediately, and Prop 6 is better than no prop at all. Bigger and bolder action will be needed to secure Texas’ water future." — spokesman Cleve Hattersley
Sid Miller Agriculture Commissioner R Y
"I've had to make water the No. 1 issue. ... Not only is it important to urban and suburban areas, it's important to our rural areas. ... [There's] a risk of being fed outside the country. ... We have to be able to feed ourselves . ... It's important that we manage our water resources wisely."
Eric Opiela Agriculture Commissioner R Y
"We can't send the message to the Legislature that it's okay to wait 15 more years before we do anything to solve our most pressing problem in the state, having an adequate water supply."
J Allen Carnes Agriculture Commissioner R Y
"I am for Prop 6, but the discussion and the debate cannot end there. We have a massive shortfall as we’re projecting out in 2050, not just in our urban areas but in our rural communities. So we need to make sure we have a conversation going forward about how all of the pieces of the puzzle play on that."
Rocky Palmquist Agriculture Commissioner L N
"I am opposed to Proposition 6. Proposition 6 will eventually lead to tax on private wells." — via Twitter
Tommy Merritt Agriculture Commissioner R Y
"As the only candidate in the race with experience in water issues, including my service on the Sabine River Authority and, in the private sector, my own hay raising operation, I understand better than anyone the importance of Prop 6. I’m voting and encouraging my fellow Texas to support Prop 6 because I understand it’s important we ensure the water needs of Texas farmers and ranchers, in fact all Texans, are met now and well into the future."
Wayne Christian Railroad Commissioner R Did not respond
Ryan Sitton Railroad Commissioner R Did not respond
Joel Pool Jr. Railroad Commissioner R N
"We believe that the $2 billion transfer from the Rainy Day Fund to the SWIFT account should have been done through the Legislature and not by a constutional amendment. Water sustainability is an important issue, and we are eager to help ensure that we have infrastructure in place to sustain this vital natural resource. Not only is it essential to life, but also to the health of a prosperous economy. However, with the current guidelines in place for the Water Development Board and how they are picked and held accountable (they are hand picked, and not voted on), we cannot support the issue in good faith."
Becky Berger Railroad Commissioner R Y
“I, like a lot of other Texans, live in a part of the state that does not have access to county water, so if my well goes dry, I can’t just run a pipe up to the county road to get water. It costs $50,000 to drill a hole for another well, and the majority of people in Texas don’t have that kind of money. I truly believe this will help the county to establish some kind of source for people in outlying areas." 
Mark Miller Railroad Commissioner L N
"Water is a resource vital to us all, and Texas will need more water as it continues to grow. Proposition 6 would, however, create an unnecessary additional state bureaucracy and create distortions that would tend to hide the true cost of providing the water supplies we all need." 
Ray Keller Railroad Commissioner R Did not respond
Malachi Boyuls Railroad Commissioner R Did not respond

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