House majority plan would have King County property owners pay more

My Democratic counterparts in the House criticize how our Senate majority’s education-funding reforms, and the budget proposal which supports them, would keep property taxes as the primary source of support for schools. They claim a property tax “is indiscriminate, hitting rich and poor people alike – and disproportionately hitting certain districts, especially in the Puget […]

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School administrators look to Goebbels, Lenin for advice?

Wearing a T-shirt with an image of a prominent Nazi war criminal might be enough to get a student sent home. But the Washington Association of School Administrators thinks it is OK to share public-relations advice from a prominent Nazi war criminal if you’re trying to get school administrators to be effective advocates. The Washington […]

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Democrats get touchy when someone else touches their tax ideas

I don’t remember the governor saying a thing earlier this month when the House Finance Committee had a public hearing on the smorgasbord of taxes in House Bill 2186. But he declared it a waste of time for our Ways and Means Committee to have a public hearing this week on Senate Bill 5929, which […]

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Democrat excuses for delaying Hirst fix don’t hold water

This past week the House majority and the governor admitted they are in no rush to find a remedy for the Supreme Court’s Hirst decision. House Democrat leaders said they’d address Hirst in “negotiations.” Governor Inslee calls Hirst a “distraction” from work to reform the K-12 funding system. Those excuses are full of holes. After […]

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Fix Hirst ruling while work toward McCleary agreement continues

It obviously has not been easy for lawmakers to come up with legislation that fixes the constitutional issue about school levies raised in the McCleary ruling, treats students and taxpayers in 295 diverse districts equitably and responds to long-standing compensation concerns from teachers and district officials. If it was, the Education Equality Act passed by […]

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Our K-12 plan will be out soon, then we can get this job done

This week Republican legislative leaders had their first meeting of the session with statehouse reporters. As expected the press corps asked first about education funding – including, when will they see a plan from Republicans to fully fund our K-12 schools? A freelance writer wondered whether the plan would come in a week or two, […]

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Without Dr. King, could we have had Dr. Floyd?

As we reflect today on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what he meant to our country, I think about another distinguished African-American leader: my late friend Dr. Elson Floyd, the former Washington State University president who lost his battle with cancer in June 2015. The “Big Coug” and I didn’t spend a lot of […]

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Senators: Thank you for your service

Legislators leave office for a variety of reasons, and the when and how of their exits generally dictates our options for saying farewell. Sometimes an announcement comes during a session, which allows us to respond in person; otherwise it happens later in the year, and that opportunity is lost. We learned during the 2016 session […]

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How far will governor go to keep a great teacher in the classroom?

According to Governor Inslee, state government has an “obligation” to pour many more billions of dollars into Washington’s K-12 schools. That’s on top of the additional billions budgeted by the Legislature for basic education in the past four years. “In this day and age, we owe our kids and parents more,” the governor declared on […]

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Reflections as our Senate majority coalition enters its fifth year

My former Senate colleague, Ed Murray, made a dire prediction ahead of the formation of our Senate Majority Coalition Caucus four years ago. In an interview with TVW, the now-Seattle mayor predicted that if two Democrats (Senator Tim Sheldon and former Senator Rodney Tom) joined with the Senate’s Republican members to form a new Senate […]

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