Conservatives Battle for Tennessee House Speakership
By Josh Goodman, Staff Writer
Throughout the last year, Republican primaries featured contests between Tea Party conservatives and establishment figures. Now the same clashes are taking place in statehouses around the country, with Tennessee the latest state to join in the action. In the Tennessee House, the two candidates for speaker are Beth Harwell and Glen Casada , the Tennessean reports . The race has the trappings of a political campaign, with Tea Partiers and other conservative groups rallying behind Casada. Similar leadership fights between different wings of the Republican Party already are playing out in several states, including Texas, Nevada, Montana and Missouri.
With state government in Republican hands the last two years, Arizona lawmakers pursued a variety of conservative policies on immigration, abortion, health care and guns. Now, with an election that only further solidified conservatives' hold on the Legislature, Arizona Republicans have a new cause: a flat tax. "We have got to get rid of the progressive tax code," Frank Antenori , a Republican state senator, told the Arizona Republic . "It's used for class warfare." He's working on a plan that would shift the state to a single income tax rate. One sign of conservatives' hold on the Legislature is that Russell Pearce , a key force behind Arizona's nationally noted immigration law, will be the new Senate President.
Even though it's been two decades since a Democrat was governor of Connecticut , Tim Bannon will provide at least a measure of continuity between the administration of Governor - elect Dan Malloy and the administration of William O'Neill twenty years earlier. Malloy has picked Bannon as his chief of staff. He served in a variety of jobs in O'Neill's administration, including as tax commissioner. As the Connecticut Mirror reports , Bannon has a colorful background. In high school, George W. Bush once gave him a fake I.D. At Yale, cartoonist Garry Trudeau was his roommate. More recently, Bannon has had stints in the health care industry, the state treasurer's office and as the executive director of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority.
In 2007, the first year of Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley 's first term in office, he pushed through a major tax increase. Despite the $1.6 billion budget shortfall the state faces, don't expect a repeat in the first year of O'Malley's second term. O'Malley has reiterated his opposition to higher taxes to balance the budget, the Baltimore Sun reports . In doing so, he's bucking the will of at least some of his fellow Democrats in the legislature. Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller , for example, has spoken up in favor of a gas tax increase. But O'Malley said on the campaign trail that he wouldn't raise taxes or fees next year.
Nevada Governor-elect Brian Sandoval consistently has pledged he will balance the budget without raising taxes. In Heidi Gansert , he's found a chief of staff who's fought those battles before. Sandoval has announced the appointment of Gansert and other members of his administration, the Associated Press reports . Gansert most recently served as the Republican leader in the Assembly, where taxes and the budget have dominated debate in recent years. They'll dominate again in the upcoming year, with Nevada facing a budget shortfall of up to $3 billion in a state where the most recent general fund budget only was $6.4 billion.