State Rep. Jim Keffer of Eastland urged Brown County residents Friday to study the 16 proposed amendments to the Texas Constitution and to vote on them Nov. 6.
Keffer, addressing almost 100 members of the Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce at its monthly luncheon, also praised the community for its cooperation on economic development projects and its political involvement.
“Brownwood and surrounding cities are extremely fortunate,” Keffer said, “and your attendance here today shows why you’ve been so successful. Brownwood stands out around the state.”
Keffer said despite the procedural rancor which with the 80th Legislature ended in May, it was a “very good session for the state of Texas. For one thing, for the first time ever, we didn’t spend all the money.” Some $8 billion was left for future tax reductions, he said, and school property taxpayers will see the remaining 33 cents of a total 50-cent tax rate reduction this fall.
“The bills we passed are just now becoming law, on Sept. 1,” Keffer said. “We’re seeing how what we did on paper looks like in reality, and how what we did affect you where you live.”
Keffer said the legislature continues to try to keep the state business-friendly.
“California proved that businesses will leave a state if they’re overtaxed,” he said.
Keffer urged chamber of commerce members to study all 16 proposed amendments, and brought materials explaining them for distribution. But he singled out four for attention.
“Amendment No. 15 is one I authored,” Keffer said. “I don’t care who you are in this room, you’ve been affected by cancer. This bond will provide $3 billion over 10 years to fight cancer. It’s not the way I usually go, and people said the legislature wouldn’t approve it and the governor certainly wouldn’t sign it. But cancer is costing Texas $30 billion a year directly and indirectly, and that’s a lot of money in comparison to what it might take to find a cure…
“I’m told we’re very close to a cure of lung cancer. We’re very close to a cure for prostate cancer. We’re very close to a care for breast cancer. We have the infrastructure in place with hospitals like M.D. Anderson, UT-Dallas and Baylor Medical. We have that network in place. We were able to pass it with a very good majority in both houses. On many levels, this will be a very good thing for the state, and I hope you will be able to support it.”
Proposition No. 3 will prevent property tax appraisals, which are done at least every three years, from jumping as much as 30 percent. The amendment would limit the increase to 10 percent at each reappraisal regardless of the amount of time that has elapsed, Keffer said.
Keffer also mentioned the first proposal on the ballot, which would bring Angelo State University into the Texas Tech system, and No. 6, which would ensure vehicles used for both private and business use will not be subject to property taxes.
Chamber Executive Vice President Laura Terhune and Director of Member Services Tammi Elliott reminded members of the annual Business Showcase from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Thursday next week at the Brownwood Coliseum, and told that the October luncheon would be held Oct. 19 at Eastlawn Memorial Park where the Vietnam War Moving Wall Memorial will be on display.