A new poll shows nearly half of Texas voters support a measure to use $2 billion from the Rainy Day Fund for water projects.
With Houston's busy port and growing population, Rice University's Bob Stein says November's battle over Proposition 6 may be decided right here.
“Harris County will be a very important county, it could account for as much as a third of the vote statewide,” Stein told KTRH News. “I expect to see a lot of TV, a lot of mail, a lot of campaigning here in Harris County because we are the largest county in the state.”
Supporters argue Prop 6 is needed to meet the needs of Texas' booming economy. Not everyone agrees.
“There is no funding crisis, this is about the governor's special interest friends getting the pipelines they need to drain rural aquifers near the growth corridors and to push wasteful reservoirs long opposed by farmers,” says Linda Curtis with the group Independent Texans.
Opponents also argue taking money from the Rainy Day Fund could hurt the state's credit rating and it's ability to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies.
Governor Rick Perry's office issued a release Wednesday encouraging passage of Prop 6, insisting “no state taxes will increase as a result of creating this fund.”
“The new water accounts would be managed and administered by the Texas Water Development Board. At least 20 percent of financial assistance would be dedicated to water conservation and reuse projects, and 10 percent would support projects to serve rural areas,” the release said.
Curtis strongly disagrees.
“I live in a rural area where water marketers keep trying to come in and take our water to the growth corridor, leaving us high and dry,” she says. “Rate payers are going to pay for this and rural Texans are going to lose.”
“If you like your food shipped from China, then vote for Prop 6,” Curtis warned.