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Tag: J.T. Wilcox


Republican: Consensus forming around Rep. Dan Kristiansen as successor for Richard DeBolt

House Republicans could pick a new minority leader May 10, and their interim leader says a “pretty good consensus” is forming around Rep. Dan Kristiansen.

Interim leader Joel Kretz of Wauconda said he would back Kristiansen and would seek to serve as deputy leader if the Snohomish legislator is elected. That’s the same role Kretz played under Rep. Richard DeBolt, who stepped down as leader last week citing health problems.

Kristiansen, first elected in 2002, serves in what’s usually the No. 3 slot as caucus chairman.

Another legislator saying he will support Kristiansen is Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Yelm, who rose quickly to become House floor

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Rep. Carlyle says he wants lawmakers to hold ‘courageous’ discussion of tax breaks in new Finance Committee

House Democrats reconstituted a revenue committee this year, breaking the House Ways and Means Committee in half – leaving House Finance and House Appropriations. Rep. Reuven Carlyle, a Seattle Democrat, is chairing the Finance operation and says he wants to set the table for a broader discussion of the tax system and how special favors in the tax code could be repealed if they are not producing a clear public benefit.

With the Senate caught in turmoil and narrowly led by an anti-tax coalition of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, Carlyle knows the change for any big tax changes may be slim. He says he first wants the House to help find ways to pay for the nearly $1.3 billion or $1.4 billion that some lawmakers think is needed to answer the Supreme Court’s ruling about underfunded K-12 schools.

“The House wants to be thought leaders in terms of helping to design a responsible budget and funding it,” Carlyle said in an interview last week, noting that the Senate goes first on the budget this year. “Funding the budget is job one. Job 2 is to put ‘McCleary’ (the court’s K-12 school funding challenge) on the table. … We defined basic education and we have to fund it.’’

The third piece of Carlyle’s agenda is a more systematic and longer-term look at tax breaks in the code, which are worth billions of dollars a year (some are popular, like the one exempting food and prescription drugs from the sales tax; others that let high-tech companies get credits for research-and-development spending are less so).

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Rep. J.T. Wilcox slams $30 parks fee

J.T. Wilcox

State Rep. J.T. Wilcox of Yelm is lining up with critics of the new Discover Pass that charges $30 a year to park on state recreational land.

The fee has drawn some questions since taking effect July 1, partly because of transaction fees that add to the price at some of the locations where it’s sold. Plus, drivers still pay $5 for state parks when they renew their car tabs unless they opt out of the voluntary donation.

Wilcox said in a news release this week it wasn’t necessary to charge for park access at all. He disputes supporters who backed it in the Legislature saying the fee was vital to avoid major budget cuts that would close state parks and other lands to the public.

Wilcox said the state could have kept open the most popular parks while closing those that are rarely used. Or, the Republican said, it could have transferred parks to local governments.

The fees are raising money that agencies say is already being put to use. Earlier this month, the state Department of Natural Resources credited the revenue for helping reopen a campground in Ahtanum State Forest southwest of Yakima. Snow Cabin Campground closed in 2009 amid budget cuts but is now open with some new picnic tables and fire pits, the department said.

Here’s Wilcox’s news release:

Discover Pass was not the only way to keep parks open, Wilcox says

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Labor Day and hunting season are around the corner, and with that come questions about the recently enacted Discover Pass for users of public lands. Second District Rep. J.T. Wilcox said he has received many questions and complaints about the pass, which is used in part to fund parks across the state. Read more »


Get ready for more independent spending in legislative races

It looks like labor-backed candidates in key legislative races are about to get some help.

In the past two weeks, unions have given more than $450,000 to political action committees set up by a campaign consultant, Moxie Media, that has run independent campaigns on behalf of labor-supported candidates. The consultant has come under scrutiny for its tactics in a successful effort to unseat a moderate Democrat.

In campaign disclosures, each Moxie PAC has identified a target to support or oppose. All of them are backing Democrats with two notable exceptions:

  • The PAC called For the People backs maverick Republican Rep. Tom Campbell in Pierce and Thurston counties’ 2nd District, and opposes J.T. Wilcox, another Republican with more support from his party’s establishment. Labor groups just gave another $45,000 to the PAC called 2nd Defense, which then forwarded $52,000 to For the People. The use of multiple, layered PACs allows the groups to send out mailers that don’t list the names of the unions that paid for them, as they did in the primary.
  • A PAC called Stand for Citizens opposes a moderate Democrat, Snohomish County Sen. Steve Hobbs. Hobbs survived unions’ attempt to bring him down in the primary, but they don’t appear to be giving up, even though he’s now facing a Republican, former Sen. Dave Schmidt. The unions have put another $25,500 into Stand for Citizens in recent weeks.

Groups giving to the races include the State Labor Council’s DIME PAC, the Service Employees International Union, SEIU locals 1199 and 775, Teamsters Local 117, Washington Federation of State Employees, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 21, the Washington State Council of Firefighters and the Public School Employees of Washington. There are a couple of donations in the mix from nonunion, liberal groups Fuse and Washington Conservation Voters.

None of the PACs have reported any spending since the primary election, and money tends to migrate between Moxie’s PACs, so it’s hard to know for sure who the money will benefit. But with those caveats, here’s where the groups have given their money since Sept. 30:

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