Want to See What Happens When You Step Up to be a Citizen?

Update: I forgot to add the new meme on McCleary.  It comes from a guy running against Joe Fitzgibbon in the 34th, Brendan Kolding.

He says, yes, THE paramount duty of the state is public education....but nearly everything else should get a cut in order to fulfill it.

Clever, no?

That way you get to say "I'm absolutely for fulfilling the constitutional requirement" BUT you also get to use that as the excuse for cutting into the health/human services and public safety areas of the budget.

Except that those who care about public education have never said (and I'm going out on a limb here) and wouldn't say, "Yup, public education funding first."

Because poor kids would be affected by those health/human services cuts just as they are being hurt by lack of full funding for public ed.

Because you don't hurt the poor, the disabled and the elderly in order to make a point.

I thought I had heard all the excuses on McCleary but this one is stunning.  (This guy also says the state should give money to parents to go to private schools.)

end of update

One of the members of Washington's Paramount Duty, Summer Stinson, attended a taskforce meeting this week on McCleary.  She had been encouraged by State Senator Ann Rivers to come with "solutions."

Here's what Stinson said at the WPD Facebook page:
I was disappointed with the reaction to my testimony yesterday. I took a vacation day from work, put my kid in before-school care, drove the 3-hour round trip to Olympia, and was told immediately prior to testifying by Senator Rivers that I had to propose at least two solutions during my testimony.
I suggested that the task force look at two solutions that I have been testifying about and proposing since last October at the Senate Education Listening Tour: (1) eliminating some of the over 600 tax breaks totally over $300 billion a biennium, and (2) adding a capital gains tax. As soon as I finished my testimony, Senator Rivers began criticizing my suggestions.
I have to admit that I'm confused. I did as I was asked by Senator Rivers, which makes her response all the more puzzling.
Here's video on how that played out.  Patronizing doesn't truly cover it.

This is the kind of dismissive behavior that makes citizens NOT want to come to Olympia.

Last thing: here's Senator Rivers on citizens coming to testify;
"Give me a call, send me a letter or e-mail, visit me in my office, *testify in front of a legislative committee* – no matter how you choose to get involved, I want your state capitol to be an open and inviting environment." - http://annrivers.src.wastateleg.org/"


Anonymous said…
My conclusion from watching that video is that Senator Rivers needs to go.

Anonymous said…
Senator Rivers COMPLETELY gets Einstein and Occam's Razor WRONG! (Or in the classic words of Princess Bride, "I do not think it means what you think it means."

First, Occam's Razor is the principle that the simplest answer is USUALLY CORRECT:


The quote that I think the State Senator wanted to find, which is often attributed to Einstein (in a Readers Digest way) but is really a paraphrase of something he just MIGHT have said:

"Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler."


So, of course, both of these actually support Ms. Stinson's ideas and show the complete crap of Senator Rivers. Ugh.

-- Math Counts
Anonymous said…
I have the opposite reaction. I prefer that parent groups are finally, finally getting some respect, in the form of clash and opposition, to what we often see here; Pegi McAvoy pretending to take our concerns seriously while nothing happens. Sen Rivers was aggressive, but that is because she believes we are an actual for that needs to be beaten. Not just fluff. This is good news.

Sleeper, I believe that to be true. I think WPD is making an impact.

My belief is that there are those legislators who believe they can continue their bullying of the Court and/or citizens as a way to keep stalling on McCleary.
Watching said…
Rivers was asking for a permanent solution and one that would not fluctuate with the economy. IMO, Rivers was supporting a levy swap- or some kind of levy reform.

I do feel concerned. "Funding" education may mean a loss of dollars for Seattle. I can only hope there will be a plan in place to protect Seattle.
As others have pointed out, Rivers is simply wrong about the capital gains tax. All taxes are volatile, but some are less volatile than others: http://budgetandpolicy.org/schmudget/volatility-claims-for-capital-gains-reform-are-overblown

But I agree with Watching that Rivers definitely wants a levy swap, which would produce a massive property tax increase in Seattle (including in poorer neighborhoods) but not actually provide us with any new money.
mirmac1 said…
Re: Fitzgibbon. He won, running against the son of a 34th district icon. I helped him. Yet, I am disappointed that, like many on the "westcoast" of Lake Washington, he is more proactive re: environmental issues than education.

I know nothing about the competitor, yet I fully expect ANY candidate should be proactive on McCleary.
Brian Duncan said…
A possible rejoinder to Senator Rivers might be:

I see. So, closing nonproductive tax preferences, and a capital gains tax, while they sound simple and therefore appealing to the unsophisticated, are actually both too simplistic, and are unstable sources of revenue, and should be dismissed summarily as not up to the job, and are not worthy of consideration and discussion by the task force. Alrighty then, how about we move on directly to the main event of the most stable and reliable form of revenue of all, and one that can be conveniently pleasingly complex as a side benefit, that is, a progressive (or graduated, if that term grates) income tax, coupled to a decrease in the regressive (or unfair) sales tax, with mandated net decrease in total tax burden on majority of WA taxpayers, and a significant increase in new revenue, sufficient to pay for McCleary mandate, with additional funds left over to fund other critical social services needs, infrastructure needs, public safety needs, etc.? So, an income tax/sales tax swap that progressive Democrats could get behind, rather than a levy swap, so unpopular in western WA. Glad to see that you've apparently come around to the progressive Democratic position on state tax reform, Senator Rivers!
Anonymous said…
Sorry to inform you all, but the days of massive property taxes will soon be the next target of our man Tim. I expect there to be an overwhelming level of support to end the fleecing of home owners in King County.

Just watch
Brian Duncan said…
@ Just Watch:

I gather from your comment above that you may also prefer a graduated state income tax/sales tax swap, over increased property taxes ("fleecing") to fund public schools? If so, I'm with ya' on that! I'd rather my property taxes go to other public services such as transportation, homeless shelters, and the like, that are not already the States' paramount duty under the state constitution, and thus more likely to get short state funding. I'd rather pay for schools under a graduated income tax, and have property taxes support other, more local, needs.
Questioning said…
Why do so many assume that the sales tax would be reduced or eliminated if an income tax was adopted? Arent there substantial local sales taxes that would be unchanged if a state income tax is adopted?

House values in Seattle have jumped considerably. Assessments are lagging this increase, but isn't it possible that property taxes in 2020 will be 2x what they were in 2010?

Incomes haven't kept pace. Long time homeowners on fixed incomes are going to be hit pretty hard. A Tim I initiative might find a receptive voting block.
Anonymous said…
Tim Eyman may have some other troubles to worry about right now. His crooked ways may have caught up with him.


Some highlights...

--Eyman used about $170,000 in contributions from Votes Want More Choices for his personal living expenses. The Disclosure Commission cited testimony on the possibility of additional payments.
--Approximately $200,000 contributed to support Initiative 1185, a tax "super majority measure," was spent to pay for signature gathering for a separate measure, I-517, designed to expand the time to gather initiative signatures and restrict opponents of petition drives.
--Eyman concealed his role as source of $182,000 of in-kind contributions attributed in reports to Citizens in Charge, a Virginia-based company.
--Voters Want More Choices, and Protect Your Right to Vote on Initiatives -- yet another Eyman front -- failed to file compete and accurate reports of contribution and expenditure activity.

CT, please let this work out for the citizens of Washington state.
Watching said…
We'll be watching judicial and legislative races. As well, we have Eyman. Sausage is being made and the manner in which funding works-out is anyone's guess.

I do believe that Seattle Public Schools has the most to loose, and I suspect we will be the piggy bank for the state.
Anonymous said…
We can hope, Melissa. Eyman has pissed off Bob Ferguson now by refusing to disclose his financial records, and I suspect he's going down. As slippery and slimy as Eyman is, my money's on Ferguson. Should be fun to watch.

Seattle Resident said…
The value of my property has doubled since 2003 and the assessed value has gone=up $130K. Seattle residents are already paying more taxes. As Questioning points-out: "Assessments are lagging this increase, but isn't it possible that property taxes in 2020 will be 2x what they were in 2010?

Incomes haven't kept pace. Long time homeowners on fixed incomes are going to be hit pretty hard"

Seattle residents will also be asked to fund a major transportation initiative, and the city has more initiatives on the way.

I may have to move.
Charlie Mas said…
Yes, Seattle Resident, you may choose to move if you cannot afford to live in Seattle. Are you seeking our pity to add to your own?
Hey, you know what, I may not be able to afford the vintage Italian sports car that I want. I'm sure other people have other things they want but cannot afford. What's your point?
Brian Duncan said…
@Seattle Resident and @ Questioning:

Funding public schools primarily from graduated income tax, instead of from regressive sales tax, and (less regressive, but not as progressive as an income tax) property tax, would lower the pressure on property tax growth. Though other levies (housing levy, transportation, parks, public safety, etc.) could conceivably eventually fill the gap, but only if approved by voters. In addition, senior, or low income property tax exemptions could be included to minimize the number of people on low/fixed incomes "gentrified" out of their existing homes and neighborhoods due to higher property taxes approved by voters.

The income tax/sales tax swap is not an assumption, but rather a proposal, that it be an essential feature of a proposed income tax law (either in legislature, or by Initiative), so that the majority of voters can be assured (by the subject law itself) that their net tax (between the new income tax and existing sales tax) will in fact go down, not up.

Net taxes for the very wealthy, such as our illustrious titans of the new economy Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, and the like will certainly go up, a lot, which is exactly the intent; shift the tax burden to those who are not yet paying their "fair" share. This would be a win for all but those at the top. And they can easily afford the minor, put in perspective, "loss" of increased state income taxes they would pay to support the state that supports their businesses, and their own communities.
Unknown said…
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