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Deja vu all over again in House; TX Rep. Keffer leads charge to kill HB 3

By J. Lyn Carl, GalleryWatch.com

Austin, TX –

"Mr. Speaker, show me voting 'no' on House Bill 3."

That statement wouldn't have had a big impact, but for the person who uttered it.

It was Rep. Jim Keffer (R-Eastland), author of HB 3, the property tax relief bill, voting against his own bill.

"It's sort of been a surreal day here," said Keffer, who earlier refused pleas of other House members to postpone consideration of his bill until the Senate could act.

Keffer said he and the members of the committees that have studied this issue for the past two years have taken the matter "extremely serious" every day.

"Our intent at one point in time in this state is to have a substantial property tax reduction," said Keffer, describing property taxes as the "number one hindrance to growth" for both individuals and corporations in the state.

Prior to Keffer closing on his bill, Rep. Jim Dunnam (D-Waco) spoke on the bill. He said the "responsible" thing to do would have been to postpone consideration of the bill. "We need to build on what happened here today," he said, "on the positive things...and try to do what is right" for the children of Texas.

Dunnam said HB 3 doesn't do positive things for the state's public school classrooms, or for tax relief, and it "doesn't do the things we were sent here to do."

"I agree with Mr. Dunnam," said Keffer. "This is not the bill. This is not the bill that we need at this time."

Saying Texas needs property tax relief, Keffer pledged that he would continue to work on the issue. "This was the governor's plan," he said. "We worked on it and massaged it as much as we could, but we didn't get there.

"I will continue to work, continue to bring issues to this floor that are meaningful and that are not only good politics, but for the most part good state policy."

Keffer's "no" vote was one of 124 that saw passage of the bill to third reading fail by an 8-124-7 mark.