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Tuesday, May 02, 2006 

Lt. Gov. Debate...

Two of the three Republican candidates for lieutenant governor differed Monday over whether the job should be part-time or full-time and over a possible proposal for Arkansas voters to prohibit most state services from being provided to illegal aliens.
Chuck Banks of Little Rock said the public wants a parttime lieutenant governor.
Jim Holt of Springdale said he wants it to be full-time as a “bully pulpit” to push for possible ballot measures, such as one to deny state services that aren’t mandated by the federal government to illegal aliens and require stricter identification for voter registration.
Banks suggested that Holt withdraw that proposal. Holt said he won’t.
They and the third candidate, Doug Matayo of Springdale, spoke Monday before about 50 people at a 45-minute debate sponsored by the Central Arkansas Republican Club in Little Rock.
Voters will chose among the three for the party nomination in the May 23 primary. The job pays $38,141 this fiscal year, $39,075 in fiscal 2007.
Banks, a former U.S. attorney, said the candidates are fighting over how to define the heart and soul of the Republican Party. He said he’d be “a strong right arm” for the governor. He’d work hard on issues that unite the state, not appealing to people’s fears and anxieties, Banks said.
Holt, a state senator, said he wants to be an ambassador for economic development. He said he wants to be “a bridge to the people,” using the office for ballot measures such as one requiring voter approval of tax increases, limiting state spending and limiting services to illegal aliens.
Banks said the public doesn’t want a full-time lieutenant governor because the people like having a part-time citizen Legislature. The lieutenant governor presides over the Senate and is acting governor when the governor’s out of state. A full-time lieutenant governor ultimately will cost the taxpayers more through increased salary and perks, Banks said.
Afterward, Holt said he won’t seek a raise as lieutenant governor.
Matayo said he’d be a bridge between the executive and legislative branches and push for streamlining of state government.


Gov. Mike Huckabee’s House floor leader, Matayo said he hasn’t voted for a tax increase. That sets him apart from Holt, he said.
Holt said he voted for a beer tax increase in 2001. It might not have been best to do that, he said.
All three favored requiring a super-majority rather than a majority vote in the House and Senate to increase the sales tax.
Holt said he favors repealing the sales tax on energy used by manufacturers, increasing the sales tax exemption on used car sales, requiring voter approval of tax increases and limiting state spending in a way similar to what’s been approved in Colorado and Maine.
Matayo said one of his supporters, Rep. Mark Martin, R-Prairie Grove, last year proposed requiring a three-quarters vote in the House and Senate to increase the sales tax and a measure imposing tax and spending limits.
Banks said he supports the creation of a state commission to revamp the state’s tax code.


Banks favored enforcing immigration laws, sealing the nation’s borders and stopping illegal immigration. Illegal immigrants with ties to terrorism or a hate group should be prosecuted and deported, he said. Others should be given a year’s probation to get their credentials legalized, and if that’s not done within a year deport them, Banks said.
If Holt’s proposal to limit services to illegal aliens is an example of using the office as a bully pulpit, he rejects that, Banks said.
“That’s not what the public wants,” he said.
Holt said his proposal is aimed at illegal aliens who commit fraud to get state service. “It has nothing to do with color,” he said.
Last year, state officials testified that a bill Holt introduced to restrict services would only affect one program — a prenatal program for illegal aliens.
Holt’s campaign manager, Mark Moore, has contended that under federal law the state measure wouldn’t deny prenatal services in a medical emergency.
Matayo, who has said he opposes Holt’s proposal, said the lieutenant governor’s office can’t resolve immigration issues. Using the terms Hispanic and illegal immigrant interchangeably “is nothing else but racism,” he said.
Holt said he deplores racism. “I cannot stomach it,” he said.
Illegal immigration is an issue that’s, among other things, ripping the economy apart, he said.
Banks said Holt could withdraw his proposal to limit services to illegal aliens.
“I can’t do that,” Holt said.
Such a ballot proposal would be similar to the bill Holt sponsored in the 2005 legislative session. It went nowhere in the Senate. Another form of his bill is expected to be introduced in the 2007 legislative session, he said.
Holt said his proposal would require applicants for voter registration to prove their U.S. citizenship through a birth certificate or naturalization papers.
Matayo said he helped enact a law last year that requires applicants for driver’s licenses to prove that they are in Arkansas lawfully. Election officials could ask for people’s drivers licenses, he said.


An ongoing debate in state government has been over whether surplus revenue in the state’s General Improvement Fund should be appropriated to local projects in legislators’ districts.
Matayo said the fund should be used for statewide projects, not for sidewalks and parks in local communities. He said he didn’t file any bills to appropriate these funds for his district.
Banks said it’s not the state’s responsibility to pay for a local horse trail or football bleachers.
Holt said he allocated $750,000 in such funds largely to fire and police departments to try to reduce insurance premiums. The money should be set aside in a reserve or sent back to taxpayers, but it’s not politically possible to do that, he said.
He said he was the 18th member of the 35-member Senate to sign a petition requesting that such money be equally divided among senators. That petition led the Senate to decide to divide the money among legislators for apportioning to whatever projects individual lawmakers deemed deserving. (ARDemGaz)


Signs" of the Time

I have been hearing many complaints about Jim Holt's campaign strategy. You see, he is running a cheap campaign. There are rumors that he is using his old senate campaign signs for his Lt. Gov's. race. Here's the kicker: his senate campaign has already donated the max of $2000 to his current race (check out his disclosure forms if you don't believe me). Do those signsd put him over his contribution limit?

I spoke with the Ethics Commission and a represenative told me that Holt should have liquidated all his physical campaign property after his Senate Campaign. Those signs he is re-using should have been liquidated and not reused. He needs to take them down because it is ethically wrong!!!!!

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