Smell test: Ads in 26th Legislative District races questionable

With less than a week left to mail in ballots in the mid-term election, voters are finding mailboxes stuffed with campaign ads trying to sway their vote.

Mailers landing in 26th Legislative District mailboxes target the House race for position 1 between Rep. Jesse Young, R-Gig Harbor, and his Democratic challenger, former Sen. Nathan Schlicher of Gig Harbor.

Claims include Young outsourced jobs to India, while Schlicher is too extreme based on his appointed time in Olympia.

The claim: A mailer by the Washington State Democratic Central Committee says Young “bragged in an interview with the Kitsap Sun” that through his information and technology consultant job for Kaiser Permanente he helped save his company “thousands of dollars by sending over 1,000 American jobs to India” in 2014.

The facts: The ad appears to reference Young’s interview with the Kitsap Sun editorial board, a recording of which is posted on the newspaper’s website.

The comments were made in reference to the bill he proposed in 2014 to create tax incentives to bring information and technology jobs to communities where military bases are located, specifically Kitsap County where Naval Base Kitsap is based.

Gig Harbor would also benefit, he said, because of its proximity to the bases and the technology infrastructure that is in place.

In the interview, Young said that shortly after his appointment to the Legislature the company he works for on contract laid off 1,000 contract workers. Young noted “95 percent of that work went over to India.” He said his legislation could have brought some of those jobs to Washington, stating: “If we’d had our bill, that would have made these jobs more competitive for our district.”

Conclusion: False. Young never said he helped save the company “thousands of dollars” by sending jobs to India.

In an interview Thursday Young said he gave the example of the contract workers being laid off as an example of how his jobs bill would benefit the region.

“I had nothing to do with that,” he said in a voicemail message. “In fact it wasn’t even the company that I’m employed by that was laying off these people.”

Young’s opponent has also been the subject of attack ads in recent days.

The claim: A mailer says Schlicher “will make you pay $1 more per gallon” as part of a plan he and Gov. Jay Inslee have for a carbon fuel tax. It cites the Oct. 6 News Tribune as the source.

The mailer was paid for by the Quality Communities Committee, which is funded by the Reagan Fund, a political action committee associated with House Republicans.

The facts: There are no records of an Oct. 6 News Tribune item about Schlicher’s support for a carbon tax.

In The News Tribune’s voter’s guide, candidates were asked if they “support putting a price on carbon emissions from fuel, which is linked by scientists to climate change and ocean acidification? Why or why not?”

Schlicher’s response said the state needs a comprehensive solution to climate change, but that he had “concerns over the carbon tax solution as it is another regressive tax…”

In an interview with The News Tribune he called the claim that he supports the carbon fuel tax a “complete and utter lie.”

“I’ve been quite clear that I don’t believe adding on to the cost of fuel is the adequate way to fund our state government,” he said by phone Thursday.

Conclusion: False. Kevin Carns, political director for the Reagan Fund, said the reference to a News Tribune story was a "typo.” Instead the mailer should have cited a Sept. 29 story that ran in the (Vancouver) Columbian.

That article says an anticipated piece of legislation by the governor could put a cost on carbon emissions. Schlicher is never mentioned in the article.

In an email, Carns pointed to Schlicher’s vote in 2013 for a Senate bill that created a bipartisan legislative work group to study the best way to meet state targets for reducing emissions of greenhouse gases. Schlicher was joined by 13 Senate Republicans in supporting the bill.

The claim: Another mailer from the Quality Communities Committee says Schlicher made it easier to raise taxes when he voted to overturn the voter-approved two-thirds legislative requirement to raise taxes. It also says that when moderate legislators “overwhelmingly passed” a bipartisan budget with no tax increases in 2013, Schlicher voted no.

The facts: The Legislature never voted to overturn the voter-approved two-thirds legislative requirement during the 2013 legislative session. The state Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional in 2013.

Schlicher said he agrees with the state Supreme Court’s ruling on the old law although he would support a new two-thirds requirement if it was done constitutionally.

On the budget, Schlicher voted against the first plan to come out of the Senate in 2013, joining the losing side of a 30-18 vote on a no-new-taxes proposal. But he voted in favor of the final budget plan, a compromise between the Senate and House that raised new revenue by addressing two court decisions related to tax breaks. That one passed the Senate 44-4.

Conclusion: Mixed. The mailer is false on its claim that Schlicher voted to overturn the voter-approved two-thirds legislative requirement to raise taxes. It is correct that Schlicher voted against the first budget plan, but doesn’t acknowledge that he joined “moderate legislators” in “overwhelmingly” passing the final bipartisan budget.

Carns said Thursday that, although he made an exception for the mailer that erroneously cited The News Tribune as a source, his organization is no longer commenting on the ads it releases before the election. He said all research in the mailers is factually verified and triple checked.