Re: "Districts chafe at Inslee's pay increases" (TNT, 2-23).
I am in total agreement that the state should fully fund education. I am a retired teacher and a signature gatherer for Initiative 1351, which passed narrowly last November.
I believe teachers, and for that matter most workers, are underpaid, and I believe the McCleary decision is both correct and that the state Supreme Court should be holding the legislators in contempt unless they work hard to achieve the budget necessary to afford both smaller class sizes and the other McCleary goals.
When I was in Olympia Feb. 19, I met with two of my legislators; from one of their interns, I learned that we have an amendment to our state constitution that serves to block an income tax.
This is the starting point for my fight for education. The only way we can achieve balance is by reversing our regressive tax system, the worst in the country.
I also learned during my visit that the top one percent pay 2 percent of their income in taxes to the state, while the bottom 20 percent pay about 17 percent of their incomes in taxes. This is what needs to change.
Clearly a greater tax burden should not be assessed in a way that negatively impacts the bottom 20 percent. But more revenue is clearly needed, despite the fact that more than $3 billion is coming in in this biennium. We need a progressive income tax to replace the other taxes that burden the poor so much.