I can’t understand the reluctance of the Washington state democrats to the Senate Republican education funding proposal for a new statewide property tax to replace local levies. This is very similar to a proposal that was highly touted by a past House Democrat Appropriations Chair, while I was serving as the ranking republican on the House Appropriations Committee.
If you look back in history, both parties have advocated for a limit on local levies. At one point, under previous court mandates, local levies were to be limited to ten percent of education funding. This has grown to over 30 percent in some of the most affluent school districts. Our state constitution does not just call for a paramount responsibility to fully and amply fund our K-12 education system. It also calls for that system to guarantee equal funding to all the children attending public schools. The democrats seem to be only focusing on the first of these responsibilities.
Having served as one of the initial members of the committee appointed to address the McCleary school funding case, and as a co-chair to report progress to the Washington Supreme Court, I am very pleased with the progress made to date. Now is the time to set politics and the biases of certain advocacy groups aside, and think what is best for all our state’s children. The Senate Republican funding proposal is the best solution to meet both our constitutional responsibilities.