Local resident Pam Ranch recently wrote a letter titled “Kudos to Senator’s vote on the budget” where she praised Sen. Tracey Eide for “her brave vote for a responsible budget proposal advanced in the state Senate recently.”
I wish to take exception to her statement because to say this was a “responsible budget proposal” is a misnomer to say the least.
The final vote was on the budget was 30-18, and 17 Democrats and one Republican voted against this budget proposal for a very good reason: in the words of Gov. Inslee, it was a bad budget and he urged both Republicans and Democrats to vote against it.
This budget proposes to spend $33.3 billion over the next two years, $1.1 billion less than the governor’s proposed budget. It includes raising $1.2 billion in additional tax revenue — to meet state Supreme Court demands for K-12 funding — by closing tax breaks and extending existing taxes.
It adds $1.5 billion more for K-12 education funding. However, it repeals the voter-approved cost-of-living increase for teachers.
The problem with the Senate budget is that it funds education at the expense of vital programs for the poor and disabled. In the words of Sen. Ed Murray (D-Seattle), “it’s not sustainable, it’s gimmicks.” Sen. Jeannie Darneille (D-Tacoma) added, “this budget picks winners and losers pitting education against social services.”
The state’s Office of Financial Management wrote a letter that “raises questions about how the budget moves around some money, taps certain funding sources and may be overpromising on government savings. Some of the moves might be unconstitutional.”
The House’s budget proposal ($34.5 billion, which is similar to the governor’s proposal because the House is controlled by the Democrats) would increase K-12 education funding by $1.9 billion, with $1.3 billion dedicated in response to the state Supreme Court ruling. Unfortunately, the House budget also eliminates cost-of-living increases for teachers. House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan said “the Senate proposal simply pushes some education costs to future years. We feel that we should actually fund that program right now. You can pay it now or you can pay it later.”
I did email Sen. Eide where I told her I believed she voted for a bad budget and the reasons why. I work for the public schools, and in the end, I hope the House and governor’s budget proposal prevails as it is the “more responsible” budget in my opinion.
Gary Robertson, Federal Way