Lawmakers have been reluctant to say too precisely how much money they’ll put toward K-12 public schools to answer a Supreme Court ruling that found the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligations. But in a Sunday forum drawing education leaders in Olympia, Republican Sen. Bruce Dammeier of Puyallup said his caucus will be proposing a “significant” investment in the “billionish range,” according to this blog post by Jerry Cornfield of the Everett Herald.
Cornfield went on to write:
Sitting alongside Dammeier in the panel, Rep. Ross Hunter, D-Medina, said he’d like to see lawmakers invest $1.7 billion into basic education in the next two-year budget. Sen. Andy Billig, D-Spokane, suggested Senate Democrats will seek at least $1.4 billion while Rep. J.T. Wilcox, R-Yelm, said House Republicans are looking at around $900 million more. Wilcox also said the House GOP will unveil its plans this Thursday.
The Economic and Revenue Forecast Council is releasing its quarterly revenue forecast next week – on March 20, just nine days away. It is the Senate’s turn to put out a budget first this year, and the Senate Majority Coalition Caucus, made up of 23 Republicans and two Democrats, is expected to put out its budget in the week that follows. Hunter would put out the House Democrats’ plan shortly after that.
Gov. Jay Inslee said recently he is preparing a introduce proposals to close tax exemptions to raise funds for schools. But Republicans have contended they can put more money into schools without raising taxes.
The 105-day session is at the Day 57 mark today, and the cutoff or deadline for bills to pass off the floor of their house of origin falls at 5 p.m. Wednesday. With a revenue forecast and budgets in the offing, the broad outlines of what is actually achievable this session will be taking shape very soon.