GOP Governors to Capital: Step Aside, Let Us Work

EMBOLDENED by their swollen ranks, GOP governors are demanding more leeway from the federal government and warning House Republicans that ``one size does not fit all'' states when it comes to welfare reform.

Crowding a Williamsburg, Va., stage at their first post-election meeting, GOP governors and governors-elect vowed to serve as role models for the party as it takes control of Congress for the first time in 40 years, demonstrating how to govern compassionately while cutting taxes, spending, and bureaucracy.

``People believe government spends too much, costs too much, and is too intrusive,'' said George Pataki, who defeated Democratic Gov. Mario Cuomo (D) of New York.

In all, Republicans gained 11 governorships in the midterm elections, meaning they will have 30 come January, the GOP's highest number since 1970.

The governors said they were prepared to help the new GOP majority in Congress enact its agenda, pledging to back the balanced-budget amendment, tax cuts, and a federal government downsizing.

But in exchange for their help, ideas, and example, the Republican governors said they expected Washington to finally understand that, in their view, it often does more harm than good when it imposes mandates and strict policy prescriptions on states - especially when it doesn't send along the money to pay for them.

``Our message will be, to the Republican congressional leaders and people of this country, give us the ball and then get out of the way,'' said Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt, who is taking over as chairman of the Republican Governors Association. ``We can solve these problems.''

Dole ties GATT to capital gains

THE wooing of Bob Dole on the GATT trade accord has hit another snag, with the future Senate majority leader suggesting he first wants a commitment to a capital-gains tax cut. Senator Dole (R) of Kansas said Sunday that before he signs onto GATT, he wants Treasury Secretary Lloyd Bentsen ``to give us some indication on capital gains - what his indications are in this next Congress.''

The House and Senate reconvene in a lame-duck session later this month specifically to vote on the 123-nation accord designed to move the world toward free trade. House approval is expected, but Dole's support is key in the Senate, where the outcome is still in doubt.

Dole said he and the administration were ``getting close to an agreement'' on working out differences. ``I want to fix it and if we can fix it, then I'll vote for it.''

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