Republican leaders in the state Senate have proposed a two-year spending plan that would profoundly weaken that framework by slashing vital investments that help Washington’s communities and people prosper – and by failing to come up with the revenue needed to fund schools and other key priorities. Their plan would turn the state budget into a house of cards, at risk of collapsing at the first sign of a slowdown in the economy. And the human cost in terms of the well-being of Washingtonians would be staggering.end of update.
What’s more, Senate Republicans actually propose creating or extending nine tax breaks, totaling $13.5 million in giveaways in the 2017-2019 budget cycle.
While the Senate’s proposed budget increases K-12 education funding by $1.8 billion, or by 7 percent, it makes huge cuts to early learning – slashing $36 million from child care program.
Here's the latest.
The GOP-majority Senate passed their budget plan, SB 5875, two days ago after many hours of debate with the vote coming in the middle of the night. It passed 25-24.
In terms of fulfilling McCleary, here are their main points:
- no new revenue. The Republicans find the money to fund public education by cutting (some would say slash and burn) many different programs like the Temporary Assistance to Needy Families program and early learning programs. It also does not fund the proposed Department of Children, Youth and Families that would consolidate programs for families in crisis.
- they end local levies that fund basic education and, instead, create a state property tax that would fund some of education spending. (This would not end local levies for other purposes.) While all districts would see an increase, districts like Seattle would see fewer dollars in order to support districts in other parts of the state that are not "property-rich."
But Sen. Kevin Ranker, D-Orcas Island, argued that numerous areas, especially in the Puget Sound area, would get hit with much higher property tax increases while others will see decreases. Inslee said that the GOP plan assumes King County residents are much wealthier than the rest of the state and can easily pay a disproportionate share of property taxes.- it is unclear if this bill truly fully funds schools per the Supreme Court ruling. It appears that it falls short by at least a couple of billion dollars.
- they move from a proto-type school funding to per pupil funding. I'll note right up front this is exactly what charter and voucher supporters want.
Each child - $12,500 (the $12,500 number includes federal dollars. The bill actually has only a basic per pupil guarantee from the state of $9200 for 2018-19.)
If Special Ed - plus $7,500
If ELL - plus $1,000
If F/RL - between $2000-$5,000
If homeless - plus $1,500 (but they also cut funding for assistance for homeless youth)
- repeals 1351 for reduced class sizes (probably will not change class size for K-2)
- nothing to expand access to higher ed for low-income students
- the GOP bill will not fund pay raises for general state workers that have already been negotiated. They will only fund state correction workers and state patrol workers.
On the Democrats plan, from The Olympian:
House Democrats are set to release and pass their own budget proposal next week, and then both chambers will begin the work of negotiating a final compromise that must satisfy a state Supreme Court mandate on education funding.I suspect the Dems plan will include a capital gains tax and possible tax cuts. It is interesting that Boeing continues to get tax cuts and yet just announced the layoffs of 245 employees.
If lawmakers are unable to complete their work by the time the current 105-day legislative session ends April 23, they'll have to go into overtime sessions, something they have had to do frequently in recent years.
About half of the more than 20 additional amendments debated on the floor were rejected, including an effort to restore funding to the temporary assistance for needy families program, which sees a cut of $96 million under the budget, including $1.2 million from requiring applicants to the program to search for a job before applying for benefits. Another rejected amendment would have frozen undergraduate tuition at the state's college and universities for the next two years.
But the chamber accepted several floor amendments Thursday night, including one that restored $1 million a year in funding to a program that links homeless students and their families with housing.
Here's what Crosscut had to say (bold mine):
One way to look at Tuesday’s action is that, with less than five weeks left in the regular legislative session, the GOP unveiled an “apples” budget. The Democrats will unleash an “oranges” budget at roughly the four-weeks-to-go mark.From Washington's Paramount Duty:
The real budget talks deadline is June 30, because the state government will otherwise partly shut down on July 1 without a budget passed by the Legislature and signed by Inslee.
In 2013 and 2015, Democrats and Republicans did not agree on a biennial budget until three days or less prior to July 1.
The House Democrats will release their budget next Monday, March 27 at 10:00 am and hear public testimony at 3:30 pm in the House Appropriations Committee Meeting.
WPD certainly hopes that the Democrats' budget will include bold ideas to address our crisis in education funding and our upside down tax system, which is responsible for our education funding crisis.
We need parents, advocates, and allies to testify in Olympia on Monday, April 27 at 3:30 PM. We need to demand that massively wealthy companies and individuals to pay their fair share towards educating Washington’s children. We need to testify to new, sustainable revenue for fully funding education that does not take from vital state services and instead asks the wealthiest Washingtonians to pay their fair share.
Comment here and email Summer (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Tali (email@example.com) if you can testify.
House Appropriations Committee
House Hearing Rm A
John L. O'Brien Building
Olympia, WA 98504
HB 1067 - Making 2017-2019 fiscal biennium operating appropriations.
Here's a link to their Contact Your State Legislators page.