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    State of Play

    Hawaii: New Speaker Wants Focus on Struggling Economy

    State Capital Strategies
    Friday, Dec. 11, 1998

    House Speaker-elect Calvin Say (D), who defeated Speaker Joe Souki (D) Nov. 20, said he will make economic development issues a priority of the 1999-2000 session, which opens Jan. 20. Say wants lawmakers to consider reducing the state's 4 percent general excise tax and the corporate income tax to help Hawaiian business dig out from troubled economic times. He said he also wants lawmakers to look for ways to cut imports to keep more money circulating in the state. Legislators will address ending the "pyramiding" of the state's general excise tax – an issue that business leaders have pushed hard. But Say warned that the pyramiding may have to remain, and suggested possibly taxing non-profits and other tax-exempt groups to recoup money the state would lose if lawmakers reduced the general excise tax. Sources say that Say, who most recently served as Finance Committee chairman, is known for floating unpopular proposals such as furloughing state workers and taxing pensions as ways to balance the state budget.

    More State Political News From:
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    Alabama: Governor May Call Special Session on Lottery


    Gov.-elect Don Siegelman (D) may call a special legislative session after he takes office Jan. 18 to consider legalizing a state lottery. Most political observers say isolating the lottery in a special session prior is a smart move. However, a short special session – limited to 12 legislative working days within a 30-day calendar period – makes some lawmakers nervous. Several lawmakers want to consider the proposal in the regular session so everyone would know all the specifics.

    Mississippi: GOP Candidates Jockey in Governor's Race


    Retiring U.S. Rep. Mike Parker (R) announced on Dec. 7 he will seek the Republican gubernatorial nomination. Parker's largest obstacle in the GOP primary will be former lieutenant governor Eddie Briggs (R), who recently announced his candidacy. Sources say Christian Right candidate Dan Gibson could be a spoiler in the Republican primary, which traditionally attracts only about half as many voters as the Democratic primary.

    Texas: Austin Woos Legislators Returning for 1999 Session


    The city of Austin plans to welcome legislators back to session with a package of perks, including free tickets to city golf courses and exemption from parking tickets. When Austin Mayor Kirk Watson announced the benefits, lawmakers applauded him. Many saw the perks as the city's way of getting on the good side of legislators who are expected to debate legislation regarding the city's annexation of nearly 28,000 suburban residents. Two weeks ago, the City Council hired nine new lobbyists at a cost of $1.2 million to push annexation legislation in the upcoming session.

    Virginia: Lawmakers Will Likely See Pay Hike


    A bipartisan commission has recommended that state lawmakers receive a sizable raise next session. The commission said members should get a 44 percent increase in per diem and office allowances. Late last session, lawmakers boosted their allowances, but the raise was stymied when the attorney general's office questioned its legality.

    © Copyright 1998 The Washington Post Company

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