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Friday, December 18, 2009 - 12:48pm

Governor Says No Tax Increases

Governor Sonny Perdue plans to address a looming budget crisis by proposing cuts in government spending without raising state taxes.

He also says he expects the upcoming legislative session to be productive, with Rep. David Ralston (R-Blue Ridge) likely leading the House of Representatives as Speaker.

"I think it will be a very cooperative venture," Perdue told reporters in Augusta on Friday. "I think he will be a good leader. I think it begins a new era in the House that will be very successful." His comments come one day after the House Republican caucus nominated Ralston for the seat instead of the governor's close friend, Rep. Larry O'Neal (R-Warner Robins).

But the Republican governor noted that the session won't be easy, with lawmakers forced to balance the budget during a serious fiscal crunch.

"It will be difficult for them as they have different constituencies that are sometimes narrowly focused and don't want anything to go away," said Perdue, who did not identify any lawmakers or specify in which areas he would recommend cuts.

"We're not in that environment where we can afford not to cut anything; that's not where we are. There will be some outcries across the state from various segments over wanting that particular program to stay," he said.

The legislative session begins in January. That's when the full House, with Republicans holding a 105-74 majority, will vote on Ralston's nomination. If elected, he will replace Rep. Glenn Richardson (R-Dallas), who is resigning after admitting he tried to kill himself and amid allegations by his former wife that he had an extramarital affair with a lobbyist.


Associated Press