Sunday, March 01, 2015

Washington State Reps Need a Visit to Starbucks

These people need to get to Starbucks and stat! so they can wake up and smell the coffee.

From the NW Progressive:

Proving once again that their Fund education first rhetoric is nothing but a false front, Republicans today pushed a bill through the Washington State Senate that transfers sales tax revenue collected on transportation projects out of the state’s general fund and into its highway fund. Since the general fund principally pays for our schools and universities, the bill would effectively take money away from education and put it towards laying asphalt instead.

The vote was directly along party lines.

The final vote on SSB 5990 was twenty-six to twenty-three, with all Republicans voting aye and all Democrats voting nay. 

Prior to the vote on final passage, Senate Democrats tried to get the bill amended to prohibit it from taking effect until after the McCleary case has been fully resolved.

The Senate Republicans voted the amendment down, drawing a pointed rejoinder from Democratic Senator Pramila Jayapal of Seattle.

“How can the Republican majority claim education funding is their top priority, and yet blow a billion dollar hole in already limited resources?” said Jayapal, who offered the amendment with fellow Democrat Rosemary McAuliffe. “This is bad for our kids, bad for our infrastructure, and it is simply irresponsible governing.”

So let's review here.  The Supreme Court has repeatedly told the Legislature to enforce/pay for McCleary.   The talk from the Legislature has been non-stop about this issue and yet the Republicans are taking tax revenue out the General Fund for transportation over education.

If there is another explanation, I'd like to hear it because that's EXACTLY what it looks like.  If the number one priority is public education, then why are these dollars going FIRST to transportation?

It's fairly confusing because many legislators - especially ed reform DFERers - say that they want to include early learning and higher ed in public education spending.

Where will all this money come from?  New taxes?  Or at slash and burn of every social service to the ground.

Honestly, what is the Supreme Court to think when they see a vote like this?  I hope the House makes sure this one is DOA.

8 comments:

Andrea Ptak said...

I have stopped trying to understand how most Republicans think. It makes my head hurt.

Anonymous said...

How is this even legal? I don't understand--especially given the whole McCleary situation. WTH are they thinking?

Roosevelt Mom

Melissa Westbrook said...

The Republicans may be trying to push two things.

One, "Supreme Court, you can't tell us what to do."

Two, "You want public education dollars? We want to cut, cut, cut and NO new taxes."

Something has got to give and I have to wonder who will blink first.

Even without 1351, I don't know how they will pay for McCleary without new revenues.

Anonymous said...

My guess is the Republicans are likely trying to push forward their idea to create separate funds and provide specific taxes to support each of those funds. Currently the state has 3 funds 'transportation, operating, and capital'. The republicans would like to see that become 'transportation, operating, education, and capital' and tie tax dollars to specific areas so that tax dollars go to where they are targeted making it more transparent where specific tax dollars are spent. They have been pushing the idea of a separate education fund for years. I agree they want no new taxes so they want to create a transparent mechanism to the public to show what taxes are funding what fund. By having one big fund called operating the same taxes used for education this year can be used for prisons or health care next year. By separating the tax streams into separate accounts I think the republicans believe it will make it more transparent what tax is funding what.

http://www.northkitsapherald.com/news/288339811.html

Anonymous said...

Dedicated funding buckets a great idea! How about a separate bucket for any mandatory standardized testing? That should be separate from the basic education budget, and testing hours should not be a deduction from the reauired 1000 or 1080 hours of defined basic education.

Testing and the cost of testing should be required to be isolated for the taxpayers' and legislatures' approval.

-NNNCr

Melissa Westbrook said...

NNNCr, good point at least on the issue of how much this is all costing. We talk about comparing tests for academic outcomes but how about costs?

Anonymous said...

Wow, those Republicans sound awful. If only they'd learn to run things like the Democrats in Seattle. Now that's a well run school district.

Get real

Anonymous said...

Melissa and NNNCr, state assessments are a separate line item in the state operating budget. Budget writers and legislators who read the state operating budget should know how much the state assessments cost each year.

This budget, however, would not account for technology costs at the local level or really any costs at the local level.

--- swk