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Category: Education

July
15th

Moody’s Investors says $1B for K-12 education is ‘credit positive’ for local schools

The recent legislative session did nothing to lift a “negative outlook” on Washington state government’s fairly good credit rating. But the Legislature’s decision to put nearly $1 billion of new money for K-12 schools may help some local school districts on a case-by-case basis.

Moody’s Investor Service, the national ratings agency, says the $1 billion for K-12 was a “credit positive” event that gives local school districts “some budgetary relief and increased financial flexibility” going forward. A note on Washington’s situation was released last Thursday in Moody’s Weekly Credit Outlook for Public Finance.

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June
19th

State schools chief Dorn says Legislature is (still) falling short on K-12 funding

Leaders of the Republican-steered Senate and Democrat-controlled House continued talks on a two-year state budget Wednesday, but neither chamber’s budget plan for K-12 public schools measures up to the state Supreme Court’s mandate in the McCleary case.

That’s the opinion of state schools Superintendent Randy Dorn, who thinks lawmakers must put in about $1.4 billion in new money this year to avoid getting into a scrape with justices, who retained jurisdiction in the McCleary case. So far, $1 billion is the best offer still on the table and Dorn says he doesn’t think lawmaker shave the “stomach” to approve the

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June
18th

New state revenue report improves climate for budget talks, but will it end all talk of closing tax loopholes?

Two forecasts of state revenue and caseloads  lent $320 million of new hope Tuesday at the Capitol that a budget deal can be brokered in time to avoid any potential shutdown of state services on July 1.

But while Senate Majority Coalition leaders contended the new money takes all new taxes off the table – and while they offered to drop business-backed demands for changes to the state-run workers compensation system – House Democrats and Gov. Jay Inslee’s budget writers were still looking at options.

The Democrats were still looking for ways to protect the social safety net

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June
17th

Olympia schools hope to sidestep trouble in July if state government shuts down

State schools superintendent Randy Dorn is warning that the Legislature’s failure to pass a state budget by Friday, June 21, means $45 million in aid to school districts may not go out as scheduled next month. In a news release last week Dorn said, “Most of the money is needed for child nutrition and special education.’’

State government agencies such as Dorn’s are going through exercises to see what a shutdown could mean. As we reported this morning, it likely means temporary furloughs for thousands of state workers, if the divided Legislature cannot get a budget in

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June
6th

House votes to turn sales-tax break for out-of-state shoppers into a refund program that raising $47.3 million in revenue

House Democrats used their superior numbers to push through a tax measure this evening that ends the sales-tax exemption for out-of-state shoppers, turning the tax break into a refund program. House Bill 2036 raises about $47.3 million in the next biennium, if the Republican-controlled Senate agrees to pass the measure as part of ongoing budget negotiations at the Capitol.

As crafted by Rep. Reuven Carlyle, the Democrats’ Finance Committee chairman, the measure does not actually end the ability of out-of-state shoppers to get a tax break. But it does make them fill out paperwork and apply for the refund.

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June
4th

UPDATE – Gov. Inslee again slaps Senate Republicans’ estate tax plan

 

Gov. Jay Inslee took big shots today at a Senate Majority Coalition Caucus plan to lower estate-tax rates for wealthy families and also to exempt two-thirds of the 300 estates that now pay the voter-affirmed tax each year. In a news conference just one week before the scheduled end of a 30-day legislative session, Inslee said the Republican-led coalition was moving in the wrong direction by favoring millionaires with a tax cut over the state’s 1 million children enrolled in public schools.

The estate tax, which lawmakers approved in 2005 and voters affirmed in a 2006 initiative challenge, has

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May
30th

House votes again to restore Wash. estate tax rules

The state House voted today on a party-line vote to approve an estate tax bill that restores the Washington’s estate-tax law to cover the estates of married couples as well as for single persons who die and bequeath $2 million or more. One Democrat, Rep. Monica Stonier of Vancouver, crossed over to vote against House Bill 2064 and three other Democrats were excused or not voting.

Three Republicans also were absent but no GOP member voted in favor. The final vote was 51-40 and the roll call is here.

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April
27th

WEA rally draws more than 1,000; Gov. Inslee vows to seek more revenue

The Washington Education Association brought more than 1,000 activists to the Olympia for a rally on the Capitol steps today. Union president Mary Lindquist, who is handing over the reins of the teachers union to Everett activist Kim Mead, said they brought 23 busloads of union members from WEA’s convention in Bellevue.

Lindquist outlined three messages for the Legislature as it goes into special session – money for class size reductions, money for cost-of-living pay raises for teachers, and action to raise tax revenues.

“We’re going to go into special session and we’ll be down here pounding on their doors

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