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Spin Control

Posts tagged: McCleary decision

Inslee: Do more hard things. GOP: Be more specific.

OLYMPIAWashington should raise its minimum wage, spend more on schools and highways, raise teacher salaries and do something about climate change, Gov. Jay Inslee said Tuesday.

“We have done hard things. And we can do more,” the Democratic governor told a joint legislative session in his annual state of the state address.

Legislative Republicans and a Democrat who joined them to form the Senates ruling coalition were quick to criticize the speech as long on ideas but short on specifics. . . 

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Lege panel to court: We’re spending $982 million more on schools

Although the Legislature needed two special sessions to agree to a budget, in large part because of disagreements over how much to spend on public schools, a special legislative committee needed only about six minutes Tuesday to tell the state Supreme Court that budget is meeting a mandate to adequately fund education.

With only three members in the room and the remainder connected by telephone, the Joint Select Committee on Article IX Litigation unanimously approved a report that listed four major increases in state money going to school districts over the next two years.

  • $374 million extra for materials, supplies and operating costs
  • $131.7 million extra for transportation costs
  • $103.6 million extra for smaller kindergarten and Grade 1 classes in high poverty schools
  • $90 million extra for all-day kindergarten.

It's part of a total increase of $982 million to be spent on public schools in the 2013-15 biennium. . .

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Revenue forecast: “The Realm of OK”

The council gets the budget outlook. From left, Marty Brown, Ross Hunter, Ed Orcutt and Steve Lerch.

OLYMPIA — While the map may say this is the state of Washington, a revenue forecast that is essentially no better or worse than February puts us “in the Realm of OK.”

That was state Budget Director Marty Brown's take on the economic and revenue outlook for the rest of this fiscal biennium and the next, which has a net increase of $156 million out of $30 billion through the end of next June, and up about $197 billion for the two years after that.

After a string of down forecasts, a little blip up might be considered great news if there were less uncertainty in the national and international economies. And if the state wasn't facing a potential spike in education spending of $1 billion in 2013-15, $2.5 billion in 2015-17 and $3 billion in 2017-19.

The two leading gubernatorial candidates say the state can handle that kind of spending, from a Supreme Court ruling known as the McCleary decision, without a tax increase. Members of the Economic and Revenue Forecast Council were asked if they agree.

“This isn't a campaign event,” replied Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

Maybe not. But Rep. Ed Orcutt, R-Kalama, the council president, said there was an extra $2.2 billion in revenue projected for the next biennium, so that might be considered “a yes we can meet that goal without a tax increase.”

After the council adjourned, however, Sen. Ed Murray, D-Seattle, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee, said he thinks the need to find money for McCleary will point out the state's long-running “structural problem” with its tax system that will need to be fixed. “In the next several biennia, we're going to need to have that discussion.” So that might be considered a “no, we can't.”

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About this blog

Jim Camden is a veteran political reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Jonathan Brunt is an enterprise reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

Kip Hill is a general assignments reporter for The Spokesman-Review.

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