State Rep. Chris Reykdal (D-Tumwater) does not like the attention the McClatchy news organization is giving to the decisions of his fellow legislators to accept or reject a call for voluntary 3% pay cuts. In his ire over McClatchy’s coverage, Reykdal penned an open letter published Wednesday on the House Democrats’ blog that seems to voice a clear warning to reporters covering Olympia: Stop reporting the facts or something terrible accident might befall your tax breaks.

From Reykdal’s piece: [Bold added.]

Recently, a great deal of print has been committed to tracking those legislators who have or have not volunteered a 3 percent reduction of their legislative salary. It’s certainly a sensational story, and we are easily captivated by the media circus swirling around our political leaders.

Taking the additional 3 percent cut is important to me in the spirit of shared sacrifice and in solidarity with my fellow public employees. What has not been easy to accept is the fact that the sacrifice of public employees did not alleviate cuts to our K-12 schools; they were cut by $1.0 billion for the next biennium. The shared sacrifice did not help higher education as it was cut by nearly $500 million. Nor did the sacrifice insulate the disabled, those with long-term care needs, victims of sexual assault, law enforcement, or the thousands of core services provided for in our State budget.

I can only find one major expense to our State Budget that was spared a cut – corporate tax breaks. …

The state tax exemption [McClatchy group] and other newspapers in Washington enjoy is worth $32 million annually.

In major league baseball that’s called “chin music,” a thinly-veiled implication to a batter to take a step back or suffer the consequences.

Reykdal is nothing if not benevolent, however, suggesting that McClatchy – a business employs actual workers by selling a product people pay money for – might even cut their own throats instead of waiting for the Democrats in Olympia to come and do it for them:

How about lowering newspaper prices by 3%? How about lowering ad rates by 3% to help our struggling businesses? I would suggest that we would all be better off if the $32 million tax break enjoyed by the state’s newspapers were put back into the depleted and underpaid corps of reporters. Perhaps then we would reap the benefits of some deep investigative reporting that truly sheds light on income inequality, environmental destruction, corporate tax preferences, or worse. We truly have problems to solve, but without a press corps focused on the biggest issues, the media circus will surely entertain us while it most certainly fails to inform us.

The Democrats’ blog implies that Reydal’s piece was rejected for publication in The Olympian, a McClatchy paper. Shocker.


[photo credit: flickr]