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Plano resident and city council candidate Shelby Williams traveled to Austin at his own expense to do something his tax-hiking city council rival didn’t: stand up for his fellow city taxpayers.

Williams testified at a Texas House committee hearing in favor of a bill to ban taxpayer-funded lobbying.

“My home city of Plano has increased our city property taxes by nearly 50 percent in five years,” Williams told the House State Affairs Committee. “But I’m to believe it is worthwhile for my tax dollars in the city to go to lobbyists to come here to the Capitol and tell all of you they need more of my money. How is that right?”

Williams said local officials should work directly with state representatives on behalf of their constituents, not hire paid lobbyists to work against taxpayers’ interests.

“There’s a major disconnect,” Williams added. “I urge you to remember the taxpayers in this equation.”

About three dozen Texans spoke in favor of House Bill 281, while only three people spoke against the pro-taxpayer reform. It was also notable who didn’t even show up to the hearing at all.

Plano Council Member Ron Kelley did not attend the hearing to speak on behalf of his constituents. Kelley, who was elected to the Place 5 council seat in 2015, has a record of voting for every city property tax hike since taking office, supporting tax rates that are lower year-over-year but not enough to offset skyrocketing property values.

Kelley was also a no-show when Williams testified in favor of property tax reform that gives local voters more control over their property tax bills—though Kelley was already in Austin to attend Plano Legislative Days on the date both hearings took place.

Williams and Kelley will face off in Plano’s May 4 municipal election.

 

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