Dear Friends and Neighbors,
We’ve made it to Week 12! Last Friday, Representatives Ross Hunter and Reuven Carlyle released the 2015-17 House Operating Budget. I support this budget because it promotes our shared values and makes real investments in the future of our economy and the wellbeing of Washingtonians. It is with this budget that we are supporting an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few.
You may be wondering how funding for K-12 education factors into the budget. I am proud to report that our budget increases funding for K-12 education by 21%, and that we are meeting our constitutional obligation to fully fund our schools. So, how is it allocated?
- $412 million- K-3 Class Size Reduction
- $180 million- All-day Kindergarten
- $741 million- Textbooks, supplies, and operating costs
- $70 million- College and career ready
- $385 million- Teacher COLAS
- $203 million- Teacher Health Benefits
With this investment, every child in the state can access full-day kindergarten. We are funding class size reductions for students in grades K-3. We provide funding for tools students need in order to learn – things like textbooks, classroom supplies, and school operating costs. We invest in college and career readiness programs so that students graduate from high school ready to take on their next step. Our hard-working school employees– from teachers to bus drivers- get a long overdue cost-of-living increase. While this budget helps to ameliorate education funding shortfalls, we need to go beyond just providing the minimum required by our constitution and our Supreme Court in order to thrive because a quality education- from childhood to adulthood- gives all Washingtonians the opportunity to succeed.
One of the proposals included in the House budget for generating revenue and funding education is the creation of a capital gains tax, also called the Fair Share Tax.
We should not and do not want to perpetuate an unfair and regressive tax system in order to fund education. The Fair Share Tax shifts the tax burdens away from Washington’s middle-class and low-income families by imposing a 5% excise tax on profits from the sale of corporate stocks, bonds, investment property and other high-end financial assets. The first $25,000 annually in capital gains profits for individuals and $50,000 for those filing joint federal tax returns would be exempt. Anything exceeding these amounts would be directed to a newly created Student Investment Fund to be used for K-12 education and higher education. Simply put, we’re calling for a fairer tax system by asking the wealthiest Washingtonians to pay their share towards fully funding education and other essential state services.
As we move into the last weeks of the regular legislative session, please don’t hesitate to email me (email@example.com) or call my office (360-786-7800). I truly appreciate your input.
All the best,