Posts tagged: Washington Education Association
Job creation may be the main talking point of the two main candidates for governor, but another topic is rivaling jobs as a top issue in the campaign.
That’s thanks in part to outgoing Gov. Chris Gregoire, who has loudly backed the creation of new taxes to support the state’s Constitutional requirement to provide quality basic education.
The state Supreme Court ruled early this year that the state hasn’t met its obligation to adequately fund education programs.
But both Republican Attorney General Rob McKenna, and Democratic Congressman Jay Inslee — Gregoire’s pick to succeed her — disagree with her assertion that more taxes are necessary.
Gregoire spoke strongly last week to the Washington Education Association for the need for “new revenue” to raise an extra $1 billion in the next two-year budget. The teachers union held its annual convention at the Spokane Convention Center.
The next day, however, Inslee addressed the WEA convention and largely avoided the topic of how to address the the Supreme Court ruling.
In an interview before the speech, Inslee said he would focus efforts to improve education funding on improving the economy, which would increase tax revenue.
“The most fundamental thing we need to do is get people back to work in this state,” he said. “That’s the real driver of revenue creation in our state.”
Inslee said he also would find savings by instituting efficiency programs that have grown popular in corporate America as well as in some city’s like Spokane under former Mayor Mary Verner.
McKenna says growing the economy is important, but says Democratic administrations have allowed the percentage of the state budget devoted to education to shrink as other programs have grown. He said he would reverse that trend.
“Moving forward we have to focus on reform and on spending more of the state budget on education,” McKenna said in an interview last week. “That means we’re not going to spend as much on other parts of the budget – that we won’t allow other parts of the budget to grow as fast as they have been growing.”
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire told the state’s largest teachers union that she will work to increase taxes to help the state meet its mandate to provide quality education.
“I am traveling the state to send the message to legislators and taxpayers that we must have a new source of revenue because we cannot have money in the good times and no money in the bad times,” Gregoire said. “We have to have money all the time to meet our obligation to ensure the education of our children.”
Gregoire spoke Thursday evening at Spokane Convention Center during the annual convention of the Washington Education Association. About 1,000 members are attending the weekend event.
The governor, who opted not to run for a third term, won’t be governor when the Legislature convenes in January to consider the next two-year budget cycle and if tax increases will be part of that budget. Even so, she said she will remain active on the issue of education funding.
“It is time for us to step up to the responsibility that we as citizens in the state have and that is a long-term sustainable revenue source,” she said.