York County Representative Ralph Norman says he will challenge House Speaker Bobby Harrell of Charleston for his title.
Norman, also a Republican, says as Speaker he would not be in favor of across-the-board cuts next year when lawmakers face severe budget cuts, but will call for targeted cuts.
Norman says the state budget will be as much as a billion dollars short next year. He says the absence of federal stimulus dollars will be a major part of the problem, but certainly not the entire problem.
Bankruptcy is taking its toll, with unemployment up to 28 percent in some counties. Income tax and retail sales tax is just not what we’ve been used to. I’m in the private sector, in the real estate industry and I’ve never seen this before in 35 years.
The House Republican Caucus will choose who it wants to be speaker shortly after the November election. That person will likely be selected for the position when lawmakers return to the Statehouse for an organization session this fall, since Republicans hold the majority of House seats.
Speaker Harrell’s office points out that Harrell has called for targeted budget cuts repeatedly. In 2008 the economic climate caused House members, under Harrell’s leadership, to go beyond the six percent reduction in revenue required by the Board of Economic Advisors and cut the budget by seven percent.
The percentage cut in total funding for agencies that year ranged from 0.1 percent to 14.2 percent, with the largest cut applied to the House and Senate operating budgets. Harrell stressed the importance of prioritizing cuts and protecting the most critical areas of government. He said making cuts without raising taxes results in an even stronger economic rebound.