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Friday, December 4, 2009 - 12:31pm

Burkhalter Won't Raise Taxes; Power Struggle Ahead?

A day after House Speaker Glenn Richardson announced he will resign January 1st, Georgia's incoming House speaker on Friday offered insight into how he will lead come 2010.

Mark Burkhalter has served as Speaker Pro Tem under Richardson and is scheduled to take over the post in January.

He says in the legislative session that starts January 11th, he will not support any tax hikes and may even push for tax cuts to attract business to the state.

The Johns Creek Republican says he may again push a plan to eliminate the annual ad valorem tax on cars, calling it "onerous."

But Burkhalter may not be in the job past next session.

Tom Crawford of says several Republicans are eyeing the seat. "I know a lot of folks have been calling David Ralston because they like David, he’s a good guy, gets along with folks," Crawford says. "I know that Jerry Keen from St. Simons Island would be interested in being Speaker some day as well."

By law the House has to vote on a new Speaker within 120 days.

Some state House Republicans say a vote might be in order before the session begins. Blue Ridge Representative David Ralston says, "I think there will be a strong sentiment within the Republican caucus that the members should have the right to vote on this."

The power shift comes after Richardson announced his resignation Thursday after his ex-wife alleged he had an affair with a lobbyist and abused the power of his office.


Edgar Treiguts and John Sepulvado

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