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Spears, Maxey backers argue over ‘deadbeat dads’ law

Friday, February 29, 2008 by Mark Richardson

The battle for the Democratic nomination for the Travis County Tax-Assessor Collector has become even more strident, with challenger Glen Maxey accusing incumbent Nelda Wells Spears of refusing to use a law that allows counties to block the registration of vehicles belonging to parents who owe child support. In turn, Spears supporters are calling Maxey a liar.


Spears has held the Tax Assessor-Collector position since she was appointed to the office in 1991 and won it in an election in 1992. Maxey is a political consultant who was a member of the Texas Legislature from 1991 to 2003


Maxey claims that he cosponsored a bill 13 years ago when he was in the Legislature that would allow the state’s Tax Assessor-Collectors to refuse to register the vehicles of parents who are not paying child support.


Maxey began running TV and print ads with that theme about two weeks ago, and surrogates for Spears have begun a counter-attack on her behalf. Former County Judge Bill Aleshire, who is backing Spears, has been contacting the local media lately calling Maxey’s claims a distortion and an outright lie.


“There isn’t a tax collector in Texas who could block a vehicle registration based on the law Maxey says he sponsored,” Aleshire wrote. “For one thing, all of the registration records are maintained by TxDOT and the tax collectors use that data base—and only that data base—of registered vehicles. In order for TxDOT to code a vehicle registration as belonging to someone who owes child support, TxDOT would have to get that information from the Attorney General (who collects child support). To date, the Attorney General has not sent any such records to TxDOT.”


However, Maxey said that waiting on TxDOT to act is no excuse for Spears.


“Because of inaction by officials like Ms. Spears, the Legislature amended this law in 2005 to require the Texas Department of Transportation to match the list of deadbeat dads to vehicle registrations, such as cars, trailers, trucks, and recreational vehicles,” he said. “While TXDOT is working to implement this tool, Ms. Spears continues her inaction by failing to work with TXDOT. She should be pressuring them to make sure this program gets up and running.”


This is not the only issue that Maxey has brought up in his campaign against Spears. He has also accused her of endorsing a Republican-backed measure that would force voters to produce a photo ID at the polls in order to be able to vote. Spears denied supporting the Republican bill, but did say that election officials should have a way to confirm the identity of people who show up at the polls without a voter ID.


But in his email, Aleshire claims Maxey’s campaign is based entirely on lies.


“We fear this despicable strategy will work,” he wrote. “By his negative campaign of deceit, Maxey has disgraced himself to a point that there is little, if anything, he can do after this election to redeem himself, no matter what the outcome.  Maxey should file for political bankruptcy.”


A Maxey campaign spokesman on Thursday did not specifically address Aleshire’s charges of lying about his opponent, but said Maxey stands behind his campaign.


The winner of the March 4 Democratic Primary will  face Republican Don Zimmerman,  well-known right wing activist.

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