East-Side Representative Kretz Shares Ideas for Washington Legislature

By Steve Jackson

Republicans are preparing for the legislative session in Olympia, including 7th District Representative Joel Kretz.
Republican Joel Kretz believes the session will again focus primarily on budget issues. He says an improved revenue forecast is actually good news, and that excess spending can still be trimmed from the state budget, although the outgoing governor has made a big deal of possible shortfalls.

Kretz: “There is a two billion dollar surplus, so it’s a scare tactic to say we need to pay for these things”

Kretz says he realizes that a State Supreme Court mandate to provide adequate funding for public schools will play a big role in the budget.  He says his party is ready to do just that, and their proposal is "let's do the education budget first, and without all the competing interests, and fund it and fund it fully.”
Kretz is encouraged by the fact state senate will have more of a bipartisan make-up since two democrats have aligned themselves with Republicans there, and he believes that will be an improvement:
Kretz: "Its been one party control and a failure, and you have an echo chamber and that’s what Olympia has been in recent years.”
As for some of the other issues, Kretz does not like the idea of making up for lost gas tax revenue by taxing citizens for the number of miles they drive:
Kretz: “That is a slap to the face of rural Washington, you know you have to drive forty miles for a loaf of bread, and your job isn’t at the end of your driveway, so its putting the burden or rural parts of the state.”
Kretz adds that one issue rural Northeastern Washington residents have had to deal with is increasing numbers of wolves that have resulted in cattle depredation.  He says he plans to propose a bill to introduce wolves into some of the western parts of the state.

Kretz: "We bear all the impacts, I have a bill that would spread the love, like by repopulating areas like the san Juans, if the wolves are so good for rural economies we need to spread the love and let everybody have a few packs.”

Kretz says he mentions the San Juans because one state lawmaker from there was critical o the state’s efforts to kill an entire pack of wolves this summer in the northeastern corner of the state.

The legislature began their session January 14th, 2013.
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