Hello friends and neighbors,
We are wrapping up Week 4 of the 2017 legislative session. Important pieces of legislation have been introduced and are making their way through the process. I am hopeful some of these, including my own bills, will be voted off the House and Senate floor.
Nothing great is accomplished alone, and I am lucky to have a terrific team assisting me here at the legislature. They help me better serve our district and focus my attention on the issues most important to you.
Cinthia Illan-Vazquez is my Legislative Assistant. This is Cinthia’s second session working for our office. Whenever you call or email, she makes sure that it I get your information. She is dedicated about making sure your concerns and voices are heard.
Sarah Robertson is interning with our office this year. She is an Evergreen student studying Agriculture & Political Science and is working for the legislature for the first time. She helps our office track pieces of legislation and when I am unable, meets with constituents as well.
We are all excited to be working on your behalf.
House passes “levy cliff” bill
As I mentioned in my last e-newsletter, the first bill voted out of the House of Representatives was HB 1059. You may have heard this referred to as the “Levy Cliff” bill. You can follow this link for a more detailed explanation of the bill.
Although it passed the House with bipartisan support, early indicators suggest that the Republican-controlled Senate will not bring the bill up for a vote. Unless we act soon, public schools will lose roughly $358 million in funding for the 2017-18 school year. This means talented, high-quality teachers will get pink slips and many of them will not return to the profession, making the current teacher shortage crisis even worse.Tacoma Public Schools alone stands to lose over $2.6 million.
Passing this bill is an insurance policy. It ensures school districts aren’t held hostage while the Legislature finds long-term solutions to fully funding our education system. It’s time for the Legislature to step up and fund education, not jeopardize our children’s future. No more excuses. No more delays.
Sustainable solutions to education funding
Aside from addressing the levy cliff issue, we need to find stable and sustainable solutions to fulfill our moral and constitutional obligation to fully fund our public schools.
Washington state’s tax system is outdated and unfair. We’ve actually been rated as the most unfair tax system in the nation. We are almost entirely dependent on taxes paid by low- and middle-income families, who pay up to seven times more of their income than the wealthy.
This is why I re-introduced HB 1730, the capital gains excise tax. We need more revenue to give our children the education they deserve and also fund the services our children and other vulnerable communities rely on. <
I’ve heard from seniors struggling to survive on a fixed income, and low-income families who are working harder than ever but falling further behind. And I’ve have heard stories from children whose classrooms are overcrowded, and teachers who leave the profession for better-paying jobs because they can’t make ends meet.
We need an economy that works for everyone, not just the wealthy few. I look forward to more conversations about solving our education funding challenges.