by Andrew Walden
Rep Gene Ward (R-Hawaii Kai) announced this afternoon that the eight members of the House Republican caucus will vote as a bloc to reelect Calvin Say (D-Palolo Valley) House Speaker.
Ward told KITV news: "The eight of us have heard directly from our constituents, from Oahu to Maui, about the importance of not raising the general excise tax (GET), providing favorable pro-small business initiatives that will create jobs and ensuring improvements are made to state infrastructures."
Say told the Star-Advertiser: "I'm very honored that the minority caucus has thrown their full support behind me. And I'm very grateful that they have considered me to be retained as the speaker."
Ward said the Republicans did not receive any committee chairmanships or other leadership assignments in exchange for their votes.
Within the House Democratic caucus, Say was one vote short of the 26 needed for reelection, according to numerous reports.
Backing Rep Sylvia Luke against Say are 17 Democrats more beholden to HGEA, UPW and other government employee unions which have been pushing for an across-the-board increase in the General Excise Tax. Attempting to win their support, Say had offered the dissidents four committee chairmanships. now with the Republican commitment, Say will no longer be required to offer the dissidents anything in negotiations scheduled for 6PM tonight.
Republican legislative minorities in the mid 1980s also joined with Democrat factions to form a bi-partisan majority. Such coalitions have allowed Republicans to advance legislative proposals which would otherwise likely be killed by a partisan Democratic majority. In General Elections, Republican legislative candidates supporting such coalitions were sometimes backed by Democrats aiming to eliminate their factional opponents.
Say’s refusal to consider a GE Tax increase during the 2010 Legislative session was a major factor in a decision by the HGEA not to endorse Say for reelection. Nonetheless Say handily defeated his opponent, Dwight D. Synan who received backing from gay-atheist activists upset that Say ha not done enough for HB444 civil unions.
In place of the across the board GE Tax hike, which Say describes as “regressive”, during the last legislative session Say proposed abolition of numerous tax exemptions. He also allowed several legalized gambling bills to advance.
Similar proposals are already being mooted for the 2011 Legislative session.
KITV: GOP Backs Calvin Say For House Speaker
SA: House Republicans will help Say retain leadership post