March 12, 2018
Education and the budget
Although the state Supreme Court agreed that the education funding plan that was approved last year will fulfill our McCleary obligations, they were unhappy with the timeline. They’ve decided that the state should put in about an extra billion dollars one year earlier. Our strong economy and surprise revenue growth have meant we can make that investment on time.
That said, one-party control in Olympia has meant very different budgets for our state. While Republicans resisted urges to raise or create new taxes, the same can’t be said for my colleagues across the aisle. With significant unexpected revenue, I believe that we should have returned that money to the taxpayers in the form of property tax relief.
Many are concerned, and rightly so, about the spike in this year’s property tax bills to fund education. I understand the frustration. The plan that was adopted last year included a prolonged phase-in at the behest of legislative Democrats, which resulted in an overlap and temporary increase in property taxes.
The good news is that we limited how much local dollars can be levied, and the result is more funding to schools, and over 70 percent of property owners will see a net decrease in the property taxes in 2019.
We voted on an education bill in the Senate and tried to adopt an amendment to provide $1 billion in property tax relief, but the majority Democrats voted against it. And again, other proposals diverted $700 million from the voter-approved Rainy Day Fund to direct that money to growing government while providing meager property-tax relief in the year when we don’t need it!
The latest budget approved by the majority continues to put special interests and government growth ahead of struggling citizens. I did not vote for the final supplemental budget as the gimmicks and taxes were unnecessary and sets what the state Treasurer called “a dangerous precedent.”
It is an honor to serve as your state Senator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your state government.
Your State Senator