Friday, March 15, 2019

Go Talk to Your State Legislator

From Washington's Paramount Duty:
The Balance Our Tax Code coalition, which includes Washington's Paramount Duty, has collected information on the legislature's upcoming town hall meetings. Please click here to find the date, time, and location of the town hall meeting for your district -- and make a commitment to attend!
There are three things legislators need to do this session in order to avert cuts and help provide a great public school education to every child in our state:
  1. Pass a capital gains tax and use the revenue for public education.
  2. Give school districts flexibility to spend money voters have approved in local levies.
  3. Add more funding to meet the needs of students in special education programs.
We believe the legislature is very close to passing all three of these, and a bill to expand funding for special education has already passed the State Senate.

But some legislators -- including some Democrats -- are still opposed to stopping cuts and fully funding our public schools. One Senator, Mark Mullet from the 5th Legislative District, even sent out an email declaring he would never support new taxes for public schools no matter the need. These attitudes can be overcome, but it starts with a strong turnout at their town halls.

Other legislators raise concerns about equity with local levies. The most inequitable thing to do would be to force cuts in school districts. When students have fewer teachers, fewer counselors, fewer librarians, and fewer specialized programs, that puts us all a lot further away from educational justice.

That's why our approach is holistic. 
Our first and most important ask is for the legislature to raise billions more for our schools with a capital gains tax that only a tiny handful of the wealthiest individuals in the state would pay. 
We then ask for districts to be able to add their own funding from levies approved by voters to help prevent cuts, especially given how absurdly narrow the legislature's definition is of “basic education” (it doesn't include a nurse at every school, for example). 
These are reasonable steps that fit with the legislature's constitutional duty to make ample funding of public education their number one priority.

In past years parents and community members like you have made a big difference for our schools when you've shown up and asked tough questions of our legislators. They will watch closely to see how many people show up pressing for more funding for our school.
 Please consider attending a Town Hall with your legislator.