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No Word from the Governor on a Special Session

May 13, 2003
By: Missy Shelton
State Capital Bureau

Republican legislative leaders met with democratic governor Bob Holden today (Tuesday) to urge the governor to sign the budget and not call a special session.

Missy Shelton reports.

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The meeting brought House Speaker Catherine Hanaway and Senate President Pro Temp Peter Kinder to the office of Governor Bob Holden.

The topic of discussion...? The budget and the possibility of a special session.

Hanaway describes what happened.

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But the governor's spokeswoman, Mary Still offers a different perspective.

She says if there's a special session, lawmakers will bring it on themselves.

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If you ask Republican lawmakers, they have sent the governor a budget that protects public education.

But they say their plan includes another critical component...No new taxes.

As the session draws to a close this week, Republicans are pushing ahead with a series of bills that generate money without a general tax increase.

One of those bills deals with getting tax cheats to pay up and closing loopholes that allow some individuals to avoid paying taxes.

The sponsor of that bill is Republican representative Shannon Cooper.

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One provision in the bill provides tax amnesty by waiving penalties for those who haven't paid their state taxes.

Bill supporters say they hope to entice people to pay the taxes they owe the state.

But Democratic representative Rick Johnson says it's wrong to use this tactic for the second year in a row.

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But the sham, according to Republican lawmakers is the state's approach to fiscal management.

Republican representative Jim Lembke says this bill allows lamwakers to avoid raising taxes and deal with what he calls the state's spending problem.

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What Lembke calls excesses, Democratic representative Wes Shoemyer calls necessary programs to help citizens.

Shoemyer says it's wrong to shelter businesses from tax increases while cutting services to people who need help from the state.

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Lawmakers have until Friday to pass revenue-generating bills. Officials with the governor's office say they are waiting to see what lawmakers are able to do to offset budget cuts to education before deciding whether to call a special session.

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