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Category: Education

April
25th

WEA’s teachers step up radio-ad campaign to boost state funding for public schools

The Washington Education Association stepped up its campaign for school funding and closure of tax exemptions with a new radio ad based on a game-show quiz this week. The ad coincides with Wednesday’s passage of a bill in the House that would raise $905 million in tax revenue – arguably to improve school funding in response to a Supreme Court ruling. The measure moves to the Senate where a Republican-dominated majority coalition passed a budget without tax hikes.

The WEA, which represents some 82,000 teachers and other education system workers in K-12 schools

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April
24th

Budget battle is joined as House passes $905M tax plan with bare minimum 50 votes; 5 Democrats vote no

Majority Democrats used their superior numbers in the state House to muscle through a $905 million tax package aimed at funding education today on a 50-to-47 vote.  Five Democrats – Reps. Kathy Haigh of Shelton, Chris Hurst of Enumclaw, Dawn Morrell of Puyallup, Larry Seaquist of Gig Harbor and Monica Stonier of Vancouver – crossed over to join Republicans who united against it.

Mike Baker of the Associated Press has this story on the floor action: OLYMPIA, Wash. (AP) — Democrats in the Washington state House moved ahead Wednesday with a plan that would increase tax revenue by

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April
23rd

House tax package clears first committee on party-line vote; beer no longer in $900M bill

The House Finance Committee has voted 8-to-5 along party lines to approve a $900 million tax package. The biggest piece of House Bill 2038 is the permanent extension of a business-occupations tax surcharge that otherwise expires in June. But in its scaled-back form, it no longer extends the temporary tax surcharge on beer that was adopted in 2010.

Republicans offered a series of amendments seeking to omit elements of the package – everything from closure of a tax-break for out of state shoppers to a tax on certain imports and bottled water. A final striking amendment from

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April
16th

Democrats move to 9th order; maneuver fails as Majority Coalition leader Tom resists call to conscience

A bid by minority Democrats to seize control of the Washington state Senate ended in a fizzle late Tuesday afternoon. They got 23 votes in favor of a procedural motion, called the 9th Order, but needed 25 and the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus held strong in rejecting the move.

The move put Senate Majority Leader Rodney Tom in a bind – because the procedural move was meant to spring loose two bills Tom supports but that are bottled up in committees by his own Republican chairs. One bill deals with requiring health insurers to cover abortion if they also cover

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April
16th

Could this be the day Senate Democrats’ take their stab at a procedural coup?

Senate Democratic Leader Ed Murray made clear Monday that his minority caucus is looking for a way to seize control of the Senate and force votes on a pair of controversial bills blocked by the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus. The move to go to the 9th Order of Business, which lets lawmakers bring bills directly to the floor from committee with a simple majority vote, could open a Pandora’s Box for the majority and would have to occur before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. cutoff.

At issue are an abortion-insurance bill, which has support from at least 25 Senate members, and a

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April
9th

Inslee gives briefing to reporters to ‘clarify’ his position on an A-to-F grading system for public school performance

Gov. Jay Inslee took steps to clarify his position on a school grading issue today. Giving public schools an A through F grade on performance was something he had backed as a candidate, backed away from last week and now seems to be supporting – if certain conditions are met to allow more nuance in the grading.

Pete Callaghan of the News Tribune wrote a column Sunday that carried a headline suggesting Inslee’s position deserved an F for fuzziness.  The Democratic governor gave a briefing today to clarify – telling three reporters covering the issue that  he would support

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April
4th

Sen. McAuliffe introduces income tax to help fund K-12 schools, cut sales tax by 1 percent

Some legislative ideas are dubbed dead on arrival and then there are the ones for which the funeral quite possibly preceded the birth.  We’ll just have to wait and see on Democratic Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe‘s $1.5 billion-a-year income tax plan introduced today. She would send it to voters as a referendum in November.

McAuliffe offered up her idea – Senate Bill 5900 – a week after Gov. Jay Inslee offered up a $1.2 billion revenue plan and one day after the Republican-dominated Majority Coalition Caucus offered up its two-year spending plan for 2013-15 that pretty much

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April
3rd

UPDATE – Gov. Inslee takes a big swipe at the Senate Republicans’ budget that avoids closing tax breaks for schools

The Senate budget plan crafted by Republicans with help from minority Democrats has drawn a broadside from Gov. Jay Inslee for what he called “short term fixes and budget tricks.” The plan does not identify  new significant sources of revenue for public schools, which Inslee proposed last week in the form of extended taxes on beer and businesses and closure of tax breaks for select industries.

Republican Sen. Andy Hill, who was the principal architect of the $33.2 billion plan, touted it as strong on funding K-12 education, cutting tuition instead of increasing it at colleges, and avoiding new

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