Texas-Sized Response To Doonesbury

WASHINGTON - More than 45,000 people have clipped out a "Doonesbury" cartoon suggesting they seek unofficial Texas residency to take advantage of the same income tax break enjoyed by occasional Texas resident George Bush.

The cartoon, published in Feb. 2 newspapers, including The Times, urged readers to cut out an accompanying coupon and mail it to Texas Comptroller John Sharp, the state's top tax man. The coupon says the writer wants to be "Just Like the Prez" and become a resident of Texas, one of a handful of states without a personal income tax.

Greg Hartman, a spokesman for Sharp, said the comptroller's office has received more than 45,000 requests, some from as far away as Brazil and Japan.

Sharp, a Democrat, has printed up tongue-in-cheek certificates to mail back to the writers. Those certificates, paid from Sharp's political funds, should be mailed out within the next few days, Hartman said last week.

Bush claims Houston as his official residence but hasn't lived full-time in Texas since going to Congress in the 1960s.

His Houston "home" is a hotel suite. He owns a vacation house in Maine, and a citizens' group there is demanding that he pay $165,000 in state income taxes.