Too many special sessions is problematic for schools | Rep. Drew Stokesbary

Since taking office, I have maintained that the Legislature should be able to pass a budget within the 105-day session. Because our economy is growing, state revenue is expected to increase by $3 billion in the upcoming biennium. This would enable the state to account for inflation and population growth, and still make substantial investments in early learning, K-12 and higher education.

  • Wednesday, April 29, 2015 2:07pm
  • Opinion

Since taking office, I have maintained that the Legislature should be able to pass a budget within the 105-day session. Because our economy is growing, state revenue is expected to increase by $3 billion in the upcoming biennium. This would enable the state to account for inflation and population growth, and still make substantial investments in early learning, K-12 and higher education.

I am disappointed that despite $3 billion in new revenue, the Legislature will enter yet another special session, the 14th since 2000. Special sessions are especially problematic for school districts, which begin budgeting for the upcoming school year in May. Uncertainty in Olympia could force school districts to send out unnecessary lay-off notices.

In terms of education spending, Republicans and Democrats are actually not that far apart. Republicans have proposed $1.28 billion of new K-12 spending to satisfy our McCleary obligation, along with a 25 percent tuition reduction at state universities. Democrats have proposed $1.33 billion of new K-12 spending and are offering to freeze college tuition. Both proposals would contribute $232 million to cost-of-living adjustments for teachers. The difference is that Republicans want to use the $3 billion surplus to pay for these priorities, while Democrats want to use that $3 billion for other items and fund education with a series of new taxes totaling $1.5 billion.

I am hopeful that we can negotiate a balanced, sustainable budget. With the projected revenue increase, we have the means to address education funding, and protect critical services for our most vulnerable citizens, without raising taxes. But we need to get to work immediately, because students, parents and teachers deserve a budget that meets the state’s paramount duty to fund education.

 

More in Opinion

Enumclaw boys, join the scouts

Troop 422 here in Enumclaw has taught me these things, and it has allowed me to be able to incorporate these things into my own life.

Concessions may be needed to enact carbon pricing

This is the sixth year Gov. Jay Inslee will try to convince lawmakers that the best means of fighting climate change is by making it more expensive to pollute.

Humility allows for tolerance of other’s opinions

Each of us has grown up in different circumstances. Each has been shaped by our life experiences. Each of us sees the world around us differently as a result. Why, then, should it be so difficult to understand that no two people will agree on every issue?

President Trump working toward the vision of our Founders

President Trump is working to return power and liberty to the people.

Inslee: ‘It’s our state’s destiny … to fight climate change’

In his State-of-the-State address, the governor made the case for an ambitious carbon tax.

Culture, politics have and continue to shape race relations

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.”

Better luck this year, Eyman

2017 was a stinky year for Tim Eyman. It ended with a thud last week when he confessed to not collecting enough signatures to get onto the ballot a measure that would reduce car tab fees and kneecap Sound Transit.

Don’t label all Trump supporters as racist

While the column correctly points out that Trump supporters are happy with his performance and still enthusiastically support him, Mr. Elfers had to inject the liberal “lie” that Trump supporters are racist.

Political turmoil makes nations stronger

Finish this sentence: “What doesn’t kill you___________.” This is how I introduced my recent continuing education class entitled, “President Trump a Year Later.” Of course, this quote is normally completed with the words, “makes you stronger.”

Most Read