January 30, 2014
Democrats' least favorite question: Why not fund education first?

On Tuesday, Gov. Jay Inslee followed up on his call during the State of the State address for $200 million in new tax revenue this year for education. In a press conference in his office, Inslee proposed ending seven tax preferences to give teachers a cost-of-living-adjustment and fund a small boost in the amount the state gives school districts for operating costs.

Last year, when House Democrats and Inslee squared off against the Senate's Majority Coalition Caucus over tax increases, Republicans in both houses adopted Fund Education First as their slogan. The Republicans argued that, since the state constitution says education is the state's paramount duty, legislators should fully fund education first, then fund lower priorities.

It's an effective slogan, one Democrats have had difficulty answering. Inslee has tried to frame the issue by saying he won't cut social services to add money to education, as he did in his State of the State, but that works better in a speech than a conversation.

When reporter Austin Jenkins put the question to him at Tuesday's press conference, Inslee chose not to answer the question. Here's their exchange:

Austin Jenkins: The philosophical difference you hear between Democrats and Republicans in this building is that the Republicans say, the court has clearly stated that education funding is the paramount duty of the state, and therefore the first dollars should go to education, and if there is to be a conversation with the public about raising taxes or closing tax exemptions, that that should be to fund non-educational items. And yet you clearly state that these would be to fund education.

Gov. Inslee: Well let's be clear, the situation, which I hope will change, and I'm gonna be diligent to try to change, is that the other party has said they don't want to spend another dime on our children's education this year. They have not teed up a discussion of how to finance steps forward for paying for the education of our kids. They have said absolutely no, zero, not a dollar, not a penny this year for the education of our children. That is the fundamental debate. Now, after we reach, I hope, eventually, a bipartisan agreement that we ought to put $200 million into the education of our children, then we'll have a discussion of how to finance that. But the first step is to decide you're going to make this commitment to our kids. The unfortunate situation that I must report to you is that to date, what I have been advised by the Republicans, is that they intend to resist and fight putting a penny into education this year. I think that's wrong. I think we can do better than that, and I hope we will.

If the goal is to avoid the actual question and land a punch on the opponents, it was a fine answer, but it definitely did not answer Jenkins' point about the philosophical difference between the two parties. That's probably because Inslee knows that voters would, in fact, think Fund Education First was wise policy.

An honest answer from Democrats on why they don't fund education first would sound something like this: "If we funded education first, it would be a lot more difficult to raise taxes because kids and schools are popular but general government isn't. We don't want to say our tax increase is for bureaucracies or welfare, so we have to fund education last so we can say the new taxes will go to schools."

For those counting at home, Inslee said "this year" three times in his actual answer. Considering that a) just a year ago, the Senate budget boosted education spending by a billion dollars without broad tax increases, b) budget proposals from Inslee and House Democrats made their education funding increases contingent on tax increases, and c) education's decline as a share of the state budget occurred during three straight decades of Democratic governors, it's no wonder he's saying "this year" a lot. You need a short memory to think theirs is the Party of Education.

Posted by Adam Faber at January 30, 2014 05:17 PM | Email This
Comments
1. You lost.

No one cares what you think.

You really do just come off as a poor loser here. Not like your guy would be doing much better.

Posted by: Steve on January 30, 2014 05:41 PM
2. You need a short memory

To forget that John Spellman (Republican) BEGGED the State Legislature to Raise Taxes.

To forgot that Dan Evans (Republican) HELPED a mass murderer get into Law School.

And you wonder why the citizens of Washington State might not want a Republican to be a governor ever again?

They might trust a new party. As long you aren't anywhere near it!

Posted by: Steve on January 30, 2014 05:45 PM
3. I just wish we we getting good results from our school system: the kids coming out of the system aren't well-educated. They aren't being prepared for the real world.

Posted by: Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. THERE, FIXED! on January 30, 2014 06:37 PM
4. We are getting good results.

You just were mistaken about the goals.


They are prepared exactly the way they want them prepared.

It's your fault you just handed over your kids to them the way you did. Criminal abandonment!

Look, if you gave your child a scorpion for his or her birthday, whose fault is it if the scorpion kills that kid of yours?


Fight the entire premise or stop whinning. It is what it is and it really couldn't have gone otherwise.

A Republican Governor would give you the same results.

Posted by: Steve on January 30, 2014 06:56 PM
5. An old woman was walking down the road when she saw a gang of thugs beating a poisonous snake.


She rescued the snake and carried it back to her home, where she nursed it back to health. They became friends and lived together for many months. One day they were going into town, and the old woman picked him up and the snake bit her. Repeatedly. "O God," she screamed, "I am dying! Why? I was your friend. I saved your life! I trusted you! Why did you bite me?"

The snake looked up at her and said, "Lady, you knew I was a snake when you first picked me up."

Posted by: Steve on January 30, 2014 07:02 PM
6. Steve, you're on a different planet.

Posted by: Ten Years After - Roger Rabbit is just a liberal progressive troll. THERE, FIXED! on January 30, 2014 07:28 PM
7. Jay Inslee was the dumb guy in the Governors race, that was obvious to anyone who watched the debate. Jay Inslee is a machine Democrat and is told what to think, because he is not bright enough to think on his own...remember the Special Sauce, the 75 point plan, the no new taxes pledge and how "Lean management" was going to save enough to pay for McCleary?

Oh and Mikeyboyscout is still a hack and an Inslee jock sniffer.

Posted by: Smokie on January 31, 2014 04:58 AM
8. For almost two generations, we have heard the complaint that our education system was under funded, not fully funded, etc.

The legislature has always had the power to "amply fund" education, they have just chosen to be politicians instead. Look at how they are able to hold the children hostage for so long to be able to spend in other areas that are not the "paramount duty of the state" (see the Washington Constitution).

The education money has been siphoned off to fund other priorities and then the politicians claim that the only way to "amply fund" education is in finding or increasing tax revenues - for over 40 years we have danced to this tune and it is now time to stop the games.

Unfortunately, if the politicians did what they claim to want to do and did fund education first, what would be their hook to actually get the tax revenue for their other priorities? No other artificial device works as well as the "it's for the children".

Democrats do this because they need the deceit and misdirection to be able to spend on the priorities they really cherish. Republicans go along because every time they don't the Democrats and their media lapdogs holler about how they hate the children.

Keeping education funding in a perpetual state of crisis also adds power and visibility to the education unions in their contract negotiations. It also helps the unions and politicians from actually providing a number as to what constitutes "fully funded", letting the educational complex off the hook for results in the education of the children. If education was "fully funded", then the public should and would expect commiserate results and then they would find that the funding wasn't the main problem.

The end result of the actions of both parties is that our children are hostages to the hyper-political tax revenue generation scheme.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 31, 2014 05:21 AM
9. "It's an effective slogan, one Democrats have had difficulty answering."

Yes, it's an excellent piece of sloganeering, and it does serve to obscure the basic question: how should we "fund education first?" Jenkin's question faithfully echoed the Republican Party line, positing a false choice, which Gov. Inslee rightly refused to accept:

"...and if there is to be a conversation with the public about raising taxes or closing tax exemptions, that that should be to fund non-educational items."

If their sloganeering demands "fund education first," then why would a dialog on closing tax loopholes confine any resulting revenues to "fund non-educational items"? The emptiness of their slogan is revealed right there.

Posted by: tensor on January 31, 2014 09:21 AM
10. Ever notice how the Obamabots get us in to an education funding crisis every year or two? If education really was a priority, it would not be a constant crisis.

We all know people who manage their financial lives as a constant crisis of debt as opposed to the efficiency of planning ahead, exercising financial restraint and saving.

The Democrats need to attend Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace university. But I doubt these Bot spending addicts would ever be retrospective enough to change.

Posted by: Mike on January 31, 2014 10:42 AM
11. If their sloganeering demands "fund education first," then why would a dialog on closing tax loopholes confine any resulting revenues to "fund non-educational items"? The emptiness of their slogan is revealed right there.

If education were funded first and fully, then closing tax "loopholes" would not be needed for education funding, they would instead be used for lower priority, non-paramount spending.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 31, 2014 11:59 AM
12. "If education were funded first and fully..." Which it wasn't, thanks to the Rodney Tom Occupation's refusal to do so. Thanks for helping to reveal the pathetic emptiness of their sloganeering.

Education is half the budget. Pretending it can "be funded first and fully," -- even if the Republicans deigned to so permit -- without it forcing a look at the entire revenue stream, is not realistic. More empty sloganeering.

Posted by: tensor on January 31, 2014 12:48 PM
13. You are right that higher taxes are not absolutely necessary to better fund education. But there are 2 approaches to better funding education -- raising taxes and cutting non-education spending. The constitution does not specify which approach is better. Why should Inslee choose the one that he believes is worse for the state?

Posted by: Bruce on January 31, 2014 12:57 PM
14. Steve is an uber-troll who is being paid by the comment.

Posted by: SmoledMan on January 31, 2014 01:13 PM
15. Tensor,

To answer your question about how to fund education first, we first must decide how much funding is adequate?

How much funding is needed for schools? What's that amount?

ONLY after that is determined can you then fund education first. And, in fact, ONLY after that is determined could you actually adequately fund education. "MORE" is not a suitable answer, because the logical follow-on question would be "how much more".

A number is needed - but none will be provided because if one is provided then the whole "more more more" chant goes away.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on January 31, 2014 01:38 PM
16. Dan -- thanks for helping to describe the emptiness of the very sloganeering which Adam so admires. He's right -- it's a difficult bit of sloganeering to counter, exactly because it sounds simple and descriptive, when it's actually very misleading and obfuscatory, for the reasons you gave.

Posted by: tensor on January 31, 2014 01:57 PM
17. "raising taxes and cutting non-education spending"

They'd love to cut education as well as non-education, but they'll gladly pretend to be education pimps for awhile if it'll help get the latter on the chopping block.

Seeing as how our red counties are living on the dole, not paying for all of the government services they receive, how about we cut them back until they're paying their fair share and we'll use the money saved for education. That should cover it and there wouldn't be any tax increases or closure of loopholes.

Looks like Wildman has sunk Christie even deeper, saying through his lawyers that Christie knew about the bridge when he was claiming that he didn't. Too bad. Christie was your only hope against Clinton. Heh. I saw a mock "Paul/Gohmert 2016" poster the other day - too funny!

Posted by: Dr. Zatoichi, the Blind Surgeon on January 31, 2014 02:11 PM
18. Thanks for helping to reveal the pathetic emptiness of their sloganeering

As I said before, this problem has been a manufactured crisis for over 40 years. Democrats and their supporters have failed over the last 30 years to put a number to their empty sloganeering of the need to "fully fund" education. Trying to limit this to Rodney Tom and the senate this year is putting on blinders as to how long this funding issue has been a political cudgel.

The democrats always increase spending on their laundry list of programs and then complain that there isn't enough going to schools and the children. Then they trot out their next round of demands for tax increases or the closing of "loopholes". They have even pushed for a state income tax "on the wealthy" to pay for education, but still will never put a number on what defines "fully funded".

What's the number Tensor, or Bruce? Is it $$ per student? A percentage of general fund spending? A fixed amount increased every year for inflation and teacher union good will? Should we fix it at 50% of state spending and just tell the schools and unions to live within that?

How will we know when we get there?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on January 31, 2014 02:15 PM
19. Common Core isn't cheap. One of the great frustrations here is that all the testing doesn't seem to have a whole lot of value. How many parents know what to work with their child on when they hear their MSP was a certain number? Inslee should be asking "what education spending adds value", not "how can we get more money." Worse textbooks like Discovering Algebra offset any gains from smaller class sizes.

Posted by: commentator on January 31, 2014 02:25 PM
20. Obsolete and unproductive tax loopholes should be closed on the principle of a fair and equitable tax code.

Now that we've de-coupled the closing of loopholes from the question of funding anything, we can talk about what "fuly funding" education means, and dump the obfuscatory sloganeering Adam here praises.

As for "how much is enough," that all depends on what our goals are. Roots is right, this has been a problem (albeit not an artificial one) for a long time. For at least the past century, Washibgton State has imported engineers. If we want our state to remain competitive in science, technogy, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), we need to stop depending on the kindness of other states. Tuition at state schools needs to come way down, and more spaces provided for potential students. Formation of more "magnet" schools at the high school level would also help. Really, a full K-20 STEM effort is needed here.

Meanwhile, the Rodney Tom Occuption saved those precious, precious loopholes, by making the teachers go for six years without a pay raise. Is that really our idea of how to retain top instructional talent? Recall that STEM teachers are the ones most well-equipped to leave for private-sector jobs.

Posted by: tensor on January 31, 2014 03:00 PM
21. Dan@15, you ask a fair question. Of course the definition of "ample funding" (which is the constitutional requirement according to the WA Supreme Court, not "adequate" as you imply) is subjective, but you can't enforce it without defining the number. I think the court accepted the state's promise of $12,456 per student by 2018 and said it would enforce that. (http://www.grandview.wednet.edu/modules/groups/homepagefiles/cms/2386873/File/McCleary%20FAQs.pdf) While I haven't studied the numbers, I am inclined to accept the court's judgment.

Posted by: Bruce on January 31, 2014 03:45 PM
22. Bruce,

Thanks! So that means if the State set aside that much money at the outset, then the State would know how much was left for everything else. Since education is the priority, it seems to me that the first thing to do would be pay for education - and now we have a price for it.

So rather than talking about "raising money for more education", it should in fact be "raising money for all these other projects". Legally the State MUST pay for education first (it's the priority), and the Court now has an acceptable amount that needs to be paid. So that money, like a tax or Court-ordered settlement, must come off the top first.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on January 31, 2014 11:34 PM
23. So rather than talking about "raising money for more education", it should in fact be "raising money for all these other projects".

Only if we assume that figure -- which, let's recall, is a minimum requirement -- is where we should stop. If, on the other hand, we make STEM education a big priority, then we would want to invest more in our childrens' futures.

Also, we have to keep in mind Washington state's regressive and sales-tax dependent tax structure, which allows for wild swings in revenues from year to year. To maintain the minimum requirement, we'll need to reserve revenues for education, with a "cushion" to ensure compliance from one year to the next.

Posted by: tensor on February 1, 2014 12:03 AM
24. Dan@22, I get your point. But it doesn't mean anything to say education should "come off the top first". Dollars are fungible and it's just as correct to say we're raising taxes to pay for education as it is to say we're raising taxes to pay for roads or prisons or drug treatment programs. Unsurprisingly, both sides are using political language.

Posted by: Bruce on February 1, 2014 02:33 AM
25. Tensor,

OK, it's a minimum - what should it be? Since it's the priority (per the WSSC) it should be calculated as accurately and quickly as possible, otherwise how can you create any budget?

Bruce,

Yes, dollars are fungible, but you and I know the reason it is done this way - it's easier to pull at the heartstrings of voters about "education for the children!" than it is for just about any other issue the State funds. In other words, the budget process is holding children hostage in an attempt to get taxes for other projects.

It's really a pretty slimy, backdoor way of coercion, don't you think?

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on February 1, 2014 08:48 PM
26. Dan, I'll call it slightly misleading in that it includes the unstated (but not outrageous) assumption that we don't want to cut non-education spending. Not a lie, not slimy, not backdoor, not coercion.

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2014 01:00 AM
27. Dan@25, I'll call it slightly misleading in that it includes the unstated (but not outrageous) assumption that we don't want to cut non-education spending. Not a lie, not slimy, not backdoor, not coercion.

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2014 01:33 AM
28. "OK, it's a minimum - what should it be? Since it's the priority (per the WSSC) it should be calculated as accurately and quickly as possible, otherwise how can you create any budget?"

I believe Bruce already answered that question, @21, above.

"Yes, dollars are fungible,"

Thanks again for helping to show the emptiness of the "fund education first!!!1!1!!" sloganeering which Adam has praised here.

"...than it is for just about any other issue the State funds."

So, voters would care less if highway funding, or the salaries of the Washington State Patrol, were similarly gamed by the Rodney Tom Occupation?

Posted by: tensor on February 2, 2014 02:12 AM
29. So, voters would care less if highway funding, or the salaries of the Washington State Patrol, were similarly gamed by the Rodney Tom Occupation? Actually, all spending by the state is gamed by the politicians and their financial backers. The politicians always default to needing/wanting higher taxes, closed "loopholes", income taxes, lotteries, et. al. to provide the additional revenue (budget shortfall) to fund education.

Paramount Duty is used only once in the State Constitution, making it unique to all other duties, Paramount, as it were.

Since it is Paramount, it should receive first funding in all budgets. In order for it to be ample, the Legislature has a Paramount Duty to determine first and foremost what that funding should be.

After they have performed their Paramount Duty to make ample provision for the education of all children, then they can take the remainder of the budget and apply it to other areas of spending. If that money runs out, they can choose to raise taxes, or close "loopholes" and make their case in public meetings and to the voters to support the need to raise taxes to support the spending. However, since they have already performed their Paramount Duty, education funding is not affected by this part of the process. They don't because it is harder than talking voters into tax increases "for the children".

By the way, the words Ecology, Natural Resources, and Health Services, to name a few do not appear in the Constitution. The word "Services" appears most often in connection with "connecting sewer services".

The 2013-15 budget is higher than the last. $79 billion vs. $71 billion.

With a budget of $79 billion, you're saying we can't afford to fund education from first dollars? $8 billion in additional government spending and the court still said we didn't do enough for the Paramount Duty of education?

2013-15 is almost 48% higher than 2003-05. In this time frame the spending increase by department is:

Legislative - 16.42%
Judicial - 74.04%
Govt Ops - 32.27%
Other Human Services - 49.19%
DSHS - 38.69%
Natural Resources - 73.81%
Transportation - 89.97%
Public Schools - 42.71%
Higher Education - 39.79%
Other Education - 42.69%
Special Appropriations - 63.37%

Public schools are 22.36% of the 2013-15 budget. It was 23.15% in 2003-05.

Transportation has gone from 7.64% in 2003-05 to 9.82% of the budget 2013-15.

Since 2009, we have been spending around 13% above the inflation rate and we still don't have enough for Public Schools?

From last biennium (2011-13), the Departments of Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, and Natural Resources have increased spending by $626.5 million. Why the increase and why did these departments receive this funding before the schools?

We have the revenues to provide ample funding of education, we choose no to.

Also, I do not agree with the Supreme Court's diktat in education spending as I believe they are now putting themselves in place of the legislators and abusing the separation of powers. I also do not believe that the spending of educational dollars is done wisely or efficiently, but that does not excuse the legislature from actual priority spending, starting with the Paramount Duty as expressed in the State Constitution.

State Constitution
Statewide Expenditure History
Inflation Rates

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 2, 2014 01:54 PM
30. SouthernRoots@29 asserts, "Since it is Paramount, it should receive first funding in all budgets..."

By "should" do you mean "I wish" or "legally must"? If the latter, why? And, what does "first funding" mean, anyway? The government doesn't spend money sequentially.

"I do not agree with the Supreme Court's diktat in education spending as I believe they are now putting themselves in place of the legislators and abusing the separation of powers"

So does that mean you think the constitution is unenforceable where it talks about education funding? If it's enforceable, how can it be enforced without someone defining a metric? This is a tough issue that the court grappled with. Are you recognizing that challenge or just spouting platitudes?


Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2014 02:26 PM
31. Bruce,

Then why doesn't the Governor ask for a tax increase for non-education expenses? Why ask "for education" when it's supposed to be education first and the priority?

I think it's quite simple - it's easier to get people to vote to increase taxes for education than anything else. So to keep "anything else", the Governor will threaten that education isn't fully funded.

It is, in fact, coercion. Or blackmail. Either one.

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on February 2, 2014 05:46 PM
32. Dan@31 asks, "why doesn't the Governor ask for a tax increase for non-education expenses?"

Legally there is no meaning to say a tax is "for" a particular expense. In general parlance it means "I think we should increase tax A and expense B at the same time." There's nothing wrong with him saying that. It's up to the legislature and voters to accept that and pass that bill or do something else.

"It is, in fact, coercion. Or blackmail."

You are, in fact, completely wrong. Making an argument is different from coercion and blackmail. He is not forcing anyone to do anything. He is just advocating something you don't like.

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2014 07:20 PM
33. By "should" do you mean "I wish" or "legally must"? If the latter, why? And, what does "first funding" mean, anyway? The government doesn't spend money sequentially.

Bruce and Tensor seem to be arguing against education funding, or as if they don't want more to go to education without the ability to increase taxation for their pet projects.

Bruce, first funding is simply prioritization in spending. Most people do this when they arrange their budget to fund housing first. The need to fund housing dictates how they will respond to lower priorities, such as entertainment spending.

The legislature needs to arrange their budget in a similar manner, I'm not quite sure why you don't want to buy in to that. Is it because the education industrial complex will lose its biggest bargaining chip I(its for the children) if the legislature acquiesces and fully funds education spending?

Instead of increasing the Department of Ecology budget by $433 million, why not keep or add that to the education budget and come to the voters for a measure to raise taxes or close loopholes for increased funding for DoE?

If the budget dollars are so fungible, why are all of the requests to the public for revenue increases either for education, transportation, or healthcare. Why not Ecology, Fish and Wildlife, Natural Resources, or the Rec and Conservation Funding Board?

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 2, 2014 08:30 PM
34. SouthernRoots, you are seriously confused in your conspiracy theories. How would the "education industrial complex" lose bargaining power if the legislature fully funded education? After all, if they are as selfish as you imply, they don't care about other parts of government, just education.

Of course politicians will frame proposals in the most attractive way possible. Anyway, it makes more sense to ask for new funding for programs that are not already funded than for programs that have already been approved and funded. It's up to the legislature and people to decide what they want to do.

If you can get the votes, cut whatever programs you want. Otherwise, your whining is pointless.

Posted by: Bruce on February 2, 2014 11:57 PM
35. Bruce, you're being obtuse. Apparently, you are just fine with the status quo.

The Supreme Court's action made it clear that the legislature is not following the Constitution, though they have the ability.

The holy grail of general fund tax increases is the request for more money for education. Fully funding education, per the Constitution, means that some other cause needs to be pushed to gain the buy in to tax increases and none are as attractive, nor as successful, as education funding.

What astounds me is that the premise of this post is a capitulation that education should get all the funding it needs and presents a real scenario on how that goal can be achieved. All you are doing is arguing against that scenario saying it can't be done, gotta raise taxes.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 3, 2014 05:51 AM
36. SouthernRoots is mystified by a Democratic governor's refusal to take messaging and policy tips from a party who hasn't managed to win that office since 1980. Go figure.

Republicans are free to propose a budget showing cuts they would make in other areas to better fund education. They can even call it "funding education first" if they think that will make it more popular. We'll see how that goes with the electorate.

In the meantime, I'm happy with the notion of at least moving salary structures for teachers to keep up with inflation and I don't mind funding it by closing tax loopholes that don't benefit the vast majority of Washingtonians.

When the GOP caucus comes out with details for their proposal, I'll be checking to see if that looks better. So far, all they have is a slogan.

Posted by: scottd on February 3, 2014 08:53 AM
37. SouthernRoots@35 writes, "The Supreme Court's action made it clear that the legislature is not following the Constitution, though they have the ability."

Yes. And that has nothing to do with whether they should follow the Constitution by raising taxes or cutting other spending. Neither approach is more or less constitutional. Why on earth should the governor propose the approach that the Republicans want rather than the one he thinks is best?

You tea partiers have failed to persuade the people that they want smaller government, so now you're just whining that the Democrats won't try to persuade the people of the same thing? Good luck with that.

"All you are doing is arguing against that scenario saying it can't be done, gotta raise taxes."

No, I'm not. Please stop lying about what I'm saying. I'm saying we should raise taxes to fund education, not that we "gotta".

Posted by: Bruce on February 3, 2014 11:19 AM
38. Why do Seattle moonbats think its a good thing to waste even more extorted tax dollars on public education?

Posted by: juandos on February 3, 2014 11:20 AM
39. "What astounds me is that the premise of this post is a capitulation that education should get all the funding it needs..."

No, the premise of this post is that empty sloganeering should be used to confound actual policy debate, because the actual policy pursued by the Republicans last year was, "stiff our teachers to keep the loopholes," a policy which would not be very popular if expressed that honestly. Hence the back-door effort to claim Democrats want to close the loopholes to fund non-educational spending, when it was the Republicans who kept the loopholes open exactly by cutting educational spending.

Posted by: tensor on February 3, 2014 01:29 PM
40. To reiterate: with a $79 billion dollar biennial budget, we have more than enough revenue to fully fund education without requiring the need for tax increases specifically for education. If there are "shortfalls" in other departments, then the politicians can still vote to raise taxes to fund those, but if that vote is not successful, then at least education is fully funded.

SouthernRoots is mystified by a Democratic governor's refusal to take messaging and policy tips from a party who hasn't managed to win that office since 1980.

Verifying that the annual funding shortages are the result of the one party controlling the governor's office for over 30 years.

Republicans are free to propose a budget showing cuts they would make in other areas to better fund education. They can even call it "funding education first" if they think that will make it more popular. We'll see how that goes with the electorate.

Well, that's the question Austin Jenkins asked the governor and Inslee totally avoided it.

I don't mind funding it by closing tax loopholes

Of course.

And that has nothing to do with whether they should follow the Constitution by raising taxes or cutting other spending.

No, it doesn't. However, the argument you espouse for funding education has been the way it has been done for a long time and for at least forty years we have had continual issues with funding - as pointed out by you and your political affiliates during your ever widening pushes to increase taxes the cover the educational funding "shortfalls". Now a suggestion has been made that would remove almost all of the "shortfall" and Inslee and the progressive visitors on SP reject it out of hand? Why? Do you really care about amply funding education, or is it just a convenient tool to use to fund your other priorities?

You tea partiers have failed to persuade the people that they want smaller government, so now you're just whining that the Democrats won't try to persuade the people of the same thing? Good luck with that.

Nope. In this thread, I haven't advocated for smaller government. Instead, I have advocated for a change in the budgeting process to make fully funding of education the absolute top priority because the Constitution identifies it a a paramount duty of the state. Instead of using education as the hook for higher taxes or closed loopholes, use other budget items - leave the kids out of it - or are progressives incapable of making good arguments without hiding behind children? In your home budget, do you take care of your housing first, or do you do the discretionary spending first and then send the kids out to sell lemonade to fund your housing shortfall?

No, I'm not. Please stop lying about what I'm saying. I'm saying we should raise taxes to fund education, not that we "gotta".

Horse pucky. If you have ever offered a plan that didn't promote tax increases, I've never seen it.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 3, 2014 01:45 PM
41. "To reiterate: with a $79 billion dollar biennial budget, we have more than enough revenue to fully fund education without requiring the need for tax increases specifically for education."

That's your opinion. Stating it as fact does not make it a fact. The amount we deem sufficient depends upon what we want to accomplish. Given that the actual voters, in real elections, keep choosing liberals and Democrats for political leaders around here suggests we don't agree with your opinions. (And, even if we did agree with your opinions, we would still not be obligated to accord your opinions the status of facts.)

Look, the Republicans in the Senate deleted funding for teachers' cost-of-living increases, citing a refusal to seek any new revenue as the reason. Therefore, it was Republicans who connected the issue of raising taxes to fund education -- the very thing you here have repeatedly accused liberals and Democrats of doing. Complain to Rodney Tom and his fellows about that, not us.

That they now obfuscate their own actions with empty sloganeering is not our problem. We have repeatedly shown how empty their slogan is, and you keep querelously pretending their empty slogan is true. If you don't want to pay taxes, fine, just say so. Just stop tiresomely insulting us with the pretense that there is some idea or principle behind your demands.

Posted by: tensor on February 3, 2014 02:47 PM
42. Verifying that the annual funding shortages are the result of the one party controlling the governor's office for over 30 years.

No, it verifies that voters continue to reject the GOP's policy prescription and that the GOP isn't getting any smarter. Now, they wonder why Democrats won't adopt the same losing message.

Well, that's the question Austin Jenkins asked the governor and Inslee totally avoided it.

Inslee did answer the question. You just didn't like the answer. He's said he wants to increase funding for teacher pay by closing 7 specific loopholes.

What's the GOP plan? All I hear is a slogan and some blather about unspecified cuts in other programs. Good luck with that.

>> I don't mind funding it by closing tax loopholes

Of course.

Indeed. I expect that what's bothering you is that there are likely to be more voters that agree with my position than your desire to protect every special interest tax exemption no matter how unworthy. That's gotta be frustrating for you.

Posted by: scottd on February 3, 2014 03:23 PM
43. Bruce@32:

If not for coercion/blackmail (gotta raise taxes or we can't pay for education), then why else would the Governor ask for more money for education, rather than for the other things the State does?

It's all about pitching it as "we have to do this to spend money on education as the Court says", rather than the real fact which is the State has plenty of money for education - but chooses to short education so it can spend on everything else (even when legally education is to be the priority).

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on February 3, 2014 09:19 PM
44. Other priorities are funded at the expense of education funding so that politicians can call for tax increases to "fund education".

"State Superintendent of Public Instruction Randy Dorn recently unveiled a bill that calls for increases in state sales and property taxes to direct more money to schools. His bill would raise the sales-tax by one percentage point to 7.5%, beginning July 1, 2018, and the portion of the state property tax that funds basic education would be raised to $3.60 per thousand dollars of valuation, the maximum allowed by law."

If the polticians would perform their paramount duty to amply prodive for education,the above paragraph would be quite different, for example:

"State Superintendent of Other Spending Priorities John Politician recently unveiled a bill that calls for increases in state sales and property taxes to direct more money to Ecology. His bill would raise the sales-tax by one percentage point to 7.5%, beginning July 1, 2018, and the portion of the state property tax that funds basic composting would be raised to $3.60 per thousand dollars of valuation, the maximum allowed by law."

Politicians over the last thirty years realized that spending won't increase by as in the latter by as in the former since the children remain the better budgetary hostages.

Progressive visitors here at SP deny this and try their hardest to defend the status quo of underfunding education every cycle so they have a handy emotional tool to demand more tax increases "to direct more money to schools".

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 3, 2014 09:43 PM
45. "Progressive visitors here at SP deny this and try their hardest to defend the status quo of underfunding education every cycle..."

Once more, with feeling: it was the Rodney Tom claque in our Senate who (after a worthless first special session, to ensure we were paying proper attention to Their Ladyships) deleted the funding for teachers' salaries, crowing about how they were doing so expressly to avoid raising revenues. Now, Gov. Inslee wants to reverse their mistake, and raise revenues to fund an increase in teachers' salaries. Go complain to them about a failure to "fully fund" education, and about their explicit linkage of tax loopholes to teachers' salaries.

(Oh, and if the example you use to clinch your argument is *fictional*, you probably don't have a very good argument. Just sayin')

Posted by: tensor on February 3, 2014 10:53 PM
46. Tensor, your obsession with blaming a forty year practice on one session of the legislature supports my contention that progressives use education funding as a political tool at the expense of the kids.

(Oh, and if the example you use to clinch your argument is *fictional*, you probably don't have a very good argument. Just sayin')

It's a fictional example because no other approach has been tried in thirty years and shrugging it off as you do shows that you are still unable to think outside of the current educational funding hostage box.

The legislature should perform their paramount duty and amply fund education first in the budget. Then to fill out the rest of the budget, pick other funding items to fight for the tax increases they desire. They haven't tried that approach in over thirty years, not just one or two sessions.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 4, 2014 05:41 AM
47. Roots, you have validated Adam's claim, about the effectiveness of a particular slogan, since you're clinging to that slogan in the face of all the facts. (And, I will proudly continue to cite real facts against your opinions, fictions, and second-hand sloganeering. Whine about this all you like.)

If you want to tell us what road projects or criminal-justice programs should be cut to maintain your precious loopholes, go right ahead. If all you've got is slogans and fiction, then please take those to the next election. If this year's election results resemble the results from so many past elections around here, I'm sure you'll state as facts some opinions, slogans, and fictions with which to blame us progressives, liberals, and Democrats for your own failure.

Posted by: tensor on February 4, 2014 07:59 AM
48. Tensor, you're wrong and have not said anything to rationally support your use of children as a hostage to increasing tax revenues.

You are also wrong in claiming I want to keep "precious" loopholes. That has no bearing on my position on this specific topic. My position is that the legislature has the revenue, budget space, and prioritization power to amply fund education at any time they choose.

Facts:

1. Per the State Constitution, amply funding education of the children is a Paramount Duty of the state.
2. The legislature creates their budget and can prioritize spending
3. The legislature is not currently funding education at "ample" levels.
4. The state Supreme Court has found that the legislature is not funding education to constitutionally acceptable levels.
5. Politicians, parents, civic groups, and teachers unions have complained consistently over the past thirty to forty years or more about the lack of ample funding for education.
6. The state instituted a lottery as one way to fund education, but that money goes into the general fund and its application to education funding can not be quantified - it certainly did not keep the underfunding from occurring.
7. The legislature has the power to prioritize their budget to amply fund education before they prioritize other budget items.
8. Aside from transportation, most tax increase pushes have been in support of supplying more revenue for funding of education.

Item #7 is a fact, but if the legislature were to adopt it, the budget dollars that were put into education would necessarily take away dollars from other budget items. The politicians would still want to retain their current tax revenue and even increase it for enlarging existing programs or new programs. However, they must now use some other device than the children to justify the increases to a sufficient majority of legislators, supporters, or the voters. This they have not been willing to do because the children/education meme is so effective.

If item #7 were to be adopted, the legislature could still close "precious" loopholes and champion the case for increased taxes to cover their spending desires, but they won't have the education funding need to justify it.

Governor Inslee is looking for $200 million more this session for education. What was so important in Ecology that they needed a funding increase over 2011-2013 of $433 million? Couldn't some of that have gone to education? Department of Natural Resources received $137 million more over 2011-13. Couldn't some of that have gone to education instead? In fact, the Natural Resources group got a budget increase of $750 million. Why not $500 million with $250 million going to education?

If $500 million isn't enough why not fight to close "precious" loopholes to bring its budget funding bump back to $750 million, after all, funding for this department is not a paramount duty in the Constitution.

Other Human Services and DSHS combined to receive a budget bump of $3.6 billion over 2011-13. Since the Constitution only identifies education as a paramount duty, why did those budget groups receive more funding than education ($1.7 billion)? Fund education and close "precious" loopholes for OHS/DSHS.

The transportation budget increased by $1.3 billion, almost as much as education. The $250 million contingency fund is gone for the 520 bridge. Bertha was stalled for a month or so costing taxpayer money. The ferry system routinely cancels runs due to crew shortages. So with all of these examples of "efficient" management, why do they need such a big budget bump? However, in this case, politicians are directly asking for more taxation to feed transportation.

One more observation; in our form of government it takes three to tango. The current spending was not just the product of Rodney Tom and a couple of buddies but was a bill that passed the House under Frank Chop and was signed into law by Jay Inslee. The house could have dug in and refused to pass it. Inslee could have vetoed the bill, or line items in it. They didn't.

You want tax increases, you want to close "precious" loopholes? Fine. Justify it on other budget items instead of hiding behind the children.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 4, 2014 03:30 PM
49. "Item #7 is a fact... "

No, it's a policy prescription. Watch:

"...but if the legislature were to adopt it..."

Which they didn't. Exhibit A: Rodney Tom deleting educational funding to preserve his precious, precious tax preferences. Go complain to him.


Posted by: tensor on February 4, 2014 07:12 PM
50. Southern: I love way you "prove" how it's gotta be in seven easy steps, and then the Democrats just ignore you. I'm sure that's irritating, but I'll bet your logic really impresses the heck out of your wingnut friends.

If the Rodney Tom caucus wants to propose whacking the Dept of Ecology to fund teacher raises and preserve special tax exemptions, they are free to do that. Inslee thinks it's better to repeal special tax exemptions for refineries. Which do you think will be more popular with voters?

You already know the answer to that -- hence the sloganeering. Good luck with that.

Posted by: scottd on February 4, 2014 07:58 PM
51. Tensor, scottd

Gee, I guess you're right. let's continue to fund education the exact same way that we have for two generations and hope it gets better.

As usual, you would prefer to hold the children hostage to your other funding priorities than actually solve the root funding issue.

Your "close the loopholes", "tax the rich", "it's for the children" sloganeering has been with us for much longer than what was the topic of this post and it hasn't produced any better funding.

I might actually buy into your position if it weren't for the State Constitution:

ARTICLE IX - EDUCATION
SECTION 1 PREAMBLE. It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex.

In all of your arguments and blame-fixing, you seem to ignore how this little section places education funding in a higher budget priority than the other spending.

The process you espouse and the politicians that share and enact your position are to blame for forty years of underperforming schools, lower than wanted test scores, lower teacher pay, school schedule disruptions due to teacher strikes, higher dropout rates and poor graduation rates, to name a few.

It's time for a radically new approach to change those dynamics by funding education first and all you want is the status quo.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 4, 2014 09:51 PM
52. Southern: What makes you think I'm trying to get you to "buy into" my position? I'm pretty sure you don't even know what my position is.

I actually prefer you keep up with the wingnut rhetoric. It's working great for you and the GOP so far. Maybe you can get Tom and his buddies to show us a budget where they "fund education first". I'm sure it will be a winner with the voters.

Posted by: scottd on February 4, 2014 09:59 PM
53. I actually prefer you keep up with the wingnut rhetoric. It's working great for you and the GOP so far. Maybe you can get Tom and his buddies to show us a budget where they "fund education first". I'm sure it will be a winner with the voters.

Obviously you are more interested in the politics rather than a real solution.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 4, 2014 10:07 PM
54. Obviously you are more interested in the politics rather than a real solution.

Obviously, you're not reading very carefully.

I've said several times that I would be interested in seeing the GOP budget proposal that "funds education first". Once I see that, I'll know what they propose cutting and I'll be able to compare it to Democratic proposals. Who knows, maybe I'll like the GOP proposal better...

Any idea when the GOP budget will be available? So far, all I've seen is a slogan.

Posted by: scottd on February 4, 2014 10:31 PM
55. I've said several times that I would be interested in seeing the GOP budget proposal that "funds education first".

As I mentioned before, it takes three to tango. Your reliance on a GOP proposal is just a way to absolve the Democrat led House and Democrat Governor Inslee allowing them to continue funding as it has been for decades.

At this point, after forty years of the complaints of underfunding resulting in subpar performance affecting two generations of students it's time for it to stop.

POLITICIANS are the impediment, not exclusively Democrats or Republicans. The politicians that ignore the Constitution for their political agendas are the problem, not the solution.

The partisanship that maintains the status quo just perpetuates the problem.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 4, 2014 11:05 PM
56. Southern: OK, I see. Republicans want to "fund education first", but they can't show us how it's done...

Alrighty. Let me know when they have a plan.

Posted by: scottd on February 4, 2014 11:27 PM
57. scottd: OK, I see. Democrats don't want to "fund education first", but they can't help it...

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 5, 2014 12:11 AM
58. Southern: "Fund Education First" is a Republican slogan -- and apparently an empty one.

Democrats understand that education needs to be funded and are willing to consider multiple ways to do so. They've made some specific proposals; you just don't like them.

I'm not sure what Republicans propose, and you don't seem to know either. But you like the slogan, so just keep repeating it!

Posted by: scottd on February 5, 2014 12:19 AM
59. Democrats understand that education needs to be funded and are willing to consider multiple ways to do so.

Except for following the Constitution and making education funding their paramount duty.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 5, 2014 12:51 AM
60. Adam is completely correct: "fund education first" is a slogan the Republicans adopted. As we've seen with their deletion of education funding to preserve tax preferences, they don't actually follow it themselves. By all means, Roots, keep "explaining" how Democrats need to obey a Republican slogan when the Republicans don't. I'm sure huge electoral gains will follow for you.

Meanwhile, nothing in our state's Constitution actually requires a legislature to write a complete educational program before considering how to pay for it; "paramount duty" neither dictates nor implies a specific course of action. It's perfectly constitutional for the legislature to start by ending tax preferences, or raising existing taxes, or creating new taxes. In fact, "fund education first" can also be interpreted as "end tax preferences to raise teachers' salaries," at least by this listener. After all, if it's the "paramount duty" of the state to educate children, tax preferences should be eliminated before funding to education should be cut.

Posted by: tensor on February 5, 2014 07:43 AM
61. Adam is completely correct: "fund education first" is a slogan the Republicans adopted.

Well, it's sure worn a groove into SouthernRoots' brain. I'll bet it's the first thing he says when he wakes up each morning.

Posted by: scottd on February 5, 2014 08:24 AM
62. The Democrat education funding and holding the children hostage playbook:

1. Underfund education
2. Blame GOP
3. Demand tax increases
4. Blame GOP
5. Get tax increase
6. Underfund Education
7. Blame GOP
8. Stage teacher strikes to increase local funding
9. Blame GOP
10. Reset and repeat next session, for decades, ad. naseum

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 5, 2014 11:34 AM
63. Roots, I don't see on your list the step where the GOP deletes education funding, explicitly to prevent needing additional tax revenue. HINT: it goes right before the step where they adopt that shiny slogan you just love so much. Somehow, you missed that step as well.

Now, I can understand your not including the Republicans' deletiion of education funding, since that actually happened in reality, and therefore it, like any such real event, can do nothing but harm to your claims. Rather, I'm perplexed at how you went straight from repeatedly flogging that slogan to completely dropping it from your list. Perhaps you have always been at war with the teachers of Eastasia?

Posted by: tensor on February 5, 2014 12:41 PM
64. Tensor, you prove the list - blame GOP.
These funding issues long predate Tom and the coalition, something you seem totally unable to comprehend.

Roots, I don't see on your list the step where the GOP deletes education funding,

"House Bill 2043 is a $320 million cut in educator salaries - money taken directly from school employees." - WEA, Legislators aim to suspend I-732 COLAs -- again April, 2013

HB2043 - passed by Democrat controlled House 54-36. Passed by Senate, Signed by Gov. Inslee.

McCleary was filed Jan of 2007, with Democrats fully in control of all branches. Democrats had also been in control for many of the previous 20 years of funding in the manner you advocate and still McCleary was compelled to sue.

The King County Superior Court found for McCleary in 2010 - before Tom and the coalition.

The Washington Supreme Court upheld KCSC in Jan of 2012, just at the time Tom and the coalition was forming.

This funding issue did not start in 2012 and the process you advocate has been the primary process for forty years. It is failing, as the McCleary rulings have brought to light.

To illustrate the repetitive nature of your position, in 2007, Gov. Gregoire asked for $200 million for teacher salaries. In 2013, Gov. Inslee asked for $200 million for teacher salaries. Seems to be part of the playbook.

Face it, your approach to education funding has created decades of underfunding adversely affecting the very children you claim to support. Your chosen method of funding has forced lawsuits against the state for violating the Constitutional requirement for ample funding. The state lost and all you can come up with is funding education same way you always have - increase taxes "for the children", and if you don't get the taxes, blame the GOP and screw the kids, repeat next session.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 5, 2014 02:07 PM
65. Roots, either you know the Rodney Tom Occupation deleted the funding, or you're not qualified to comment on this topic. Your problem seems to be that I'm assigning responsibility to the persons who are, indeed, responsible. I don't actually think that is a problem, so you're going to be at a loss there.

You're the one greatly enamored of the "Fund Education First" slogan, so you might want to take Rodney Tom and his claque to task for showing it is nothing but empty, meaningless words. You might also ask them how deleting funding for education, in favor of retaining tax preferences, complied with the quotation from our state's Constitution, above. Please let us know what answers you get from our Senate Republicans on those points, since they seem to concern you so much.

Posted by: tensor on February 5, 2014 03:40 PM
66. tensor - blah, blah, blah. Your party approved and passed the bill. Your parties Governor signed it. They went along to use it as a club against the coalition. They could have rejected it, but didn't.

Why have Democrat controlled Houses, Senates, and Governorships failed to relieve the underfunding over the last thirty years? They don't want to. Holding the children hostage for funding so they can pay for their other priorities first is more important.

You advocate the old way - the way that failed so badly over time that the State Supreme Court said the existing funding levels were unconstitutional.

Now to shift blame, you want to put thirty years of failure on the backs of one legislative session because it is barely controlled by the opposite party. Gutless.

While I might try to get answers from the GOP - why don't you get answers from the Democrats on why their funding preferences have failed education for so long.

You and scottd want to chastise me for singing one tune of late, but both of you are just as bad with your tone deaf tax, tax, tax for the children song.

Bottom line, per McCleary it looks like school funding should be caught up to about $20 billion per biennium to satisfy the court and the Constitution. The states budget is almost $80 billion - they have the money and it is only because of politicians (primarily Democrat) and their sycophants like you that the schools are locked out of more funding unless you are allowed to raise taxes. Fund education and make your case for raising the taxes for the other priorities instead. Take that to the voters and see what they think.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 5, 2014 04:11 PM
67. While I'm not a Democrat, I will reluctantly say they did the responsible thing by acceding to the impertinent demands of the un-elected Rodney Tom Occupation. That latter gang simply didn't seem to take seriously their jobs as legislators.

If you don't know how a bill becomes a law, you probably shouldn't be commenting on either. Deletion of the education funding originated in the Republican-controlled Senate, and you know it. For some reason, you're not explaining how this action supported either the Republicans' "Fund Education First" slogan, or our state Constitution's requirement for education funding.

I will happily and eagerly agree that education and other state responsibilities have been under-funded for decades; SR-520 should have been replaced over twenty years ago, and SR-99 put in a tunnel right after the Nisqually quake. How electing Republicans would have done better for us on these issues remains a mystery; they controlled both Houses in the late '90s, during which time WSDOT's budget failed to keep up with inflation, let alone cover the huge backlog of crumbling infrastructure we've now just begun to replace.

And no, we're still not going to accept your statements of opinion as fact, or your constant demands we run our state's legislative process according to your diktats. Elect majorities favorable to your plans, or continue to amuse us with your futile whining.

Posted by: tensor on February 5, 2014 05:23 PM
68. tensor @ 60: fund education first is the part of the State Constitution that the State Supreme Court said must be followed. See Article IX, section 1:

"It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."

What does paramount mean? superior to all others. The most important duty. The FIRST thing to fund is, per the Constitution, education. Fund Education First is, in fact, the exact same thing the Constitution says must happen. It's not a GOP catch-phrase, it's the State Constitution.

The fact the liberals want to ignore the Constitution isn't a surprise; the fact they refuse to admit as much simply shows the hypocrisy of the left, and their actual disdain for children and education. Education is just a tool to be used to blackmail the voters...

Posted by: Shanghai Dan on February 5, 2014 06:41 PM
69. Dan, you contributed nothing I didn't already address @60. Our Constitution does, of course, say what you and Roots quoted it as saying, but nowhere does the Constitution require legislators to write an education budget before they look at a revenue stream to pay for it. You and Roots are free to quote relevant court cases to show otherwise, but I rather suspect you'll just continue sloganeering.

But since you volunteered, please do explain how the Rodney Tom Occupation's deletion of education funding supported both their "paramount duty" as legislators, and their own "Fund Education First" slogan. I boldly predict you' ll perform no better than Roots has at that task.

My bottom line is simple: Democrats are bad at funding our state government, Republicans have been worse, and we're getting what we've grudgingly paid for. I'm more than willing to pay higher taxes for better results, but Rodney Tom didn't agree. Oh well, maybe after yet another election where we voters put Democrats in charge of both houses, Tom's obstreperous meddling will end. See you at the election!

Posted by: tensor on February 6, 2014 09:32 AM
70. tensor,
Let me rephrase this whole topic for you. The state was sued due to violating the Constitution in funding of education. The Supreme Court upheld the trial court ruling. It is now the law of the land - get over it.

You dismissed Dan's comments and call "Fund Education First" just sloganeering.

You insist that neither the Constitution nor the courts require "legislators to write an education budget before they look at a revenue stream to pay for it."

These quotes came directly from the KC Superior Court ruling in McCleary and the Washington State Supreme Court Ruling in McCleary. (Again, McCleary was filed in 2007, ruled on in 2010 - before Rodney Tom and his coalition. The Seattle School District v. State was from 1982):

It declared that, in the context of Article IX, section 1, "paramount" means the State must "amply provide for the education of all Washington children as the State's first and highest priority before any other State programs or operations."
Article IX, section 1 confers on children in Washington a positive constitutional right to an amply funded education. - Washington State Supreme Court, McCleary v. State of Washington
Washington law recognizes that the education duty specified in Article IX, section 1 is the only duty that is the State's paramount duty. As the Washington State Supreme Court has held: "Careful examination of our constitution reveals that the framers declared only once in the entire document that a specified function was the State's paramount duty. That singular declaration is found in Constitution Article IX, section 1. Undoubtedly, the imperative wording is intentional. - Seattle School District v. State, 90 Wn.2d at 510-11."
Washington law holds that Article IX, section 1 imposes an affirmative, judicially enforceable duty upon the State. The Washington Supreme Court has thus held that Article IX, section 1 "is mandatory and imposes a judicially enforceable affirmative duty" upon the State"
The Washington Supreme Court has accordingly held that the Respondent State must fully comply with Article IX, section 1 as its "first priority".
During the trial, the State cross-examined many of the Petitioners' education witnesses as too whether they would prioritize education at the expense of other worthy causes and services, such as health care, nutrition services, and transportation needs. But this is not the prerogative of these witnesses - or even of the Legislature - that decision has been mandated by our State Constitution. The State must make basic education funding its top legislative priority.

Your arguments did not hold up in court.

The Washington Supreme Court has accordingly interpreted the word "paramount" in Article IX, section 1 as follows: "Paramount" is not a mere synonym of "important." Rather, it means superior in rank above all others, chief, preeminent, supreme, and in fact dominant.... When a thing is said to be paramount, it can only mean that it is more important than all other things concerned. Indeed, as Judge Robert Doran opined, "[f]unding of the education program required by Article IX, Sections 1 and 2, must be provided as a first priority before any statutory program is funded."

I highlighted a phrase for you, it translates to "Fund Education First". Seems to be more of a court order than just "sloganeering".

It also means that the Legislature can and must fully fund education before other budget items. This will mean that the other budget items will be the ones that will need to hold something/someone hostage to extract tax increases.

Posted by: SouthernRoots on February 6, 2014 04:26 PM
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