LATEST BLOGS

Tacoma school officials say they plan to lay off teachers after receiving record-high funding from the state
By LIV FINNE  | 
Feb 20, 2019

In 2017, the state legislature enacted local property tax relief, and at the same time passed record levels of state funding for schools.  The idea is to make sure the state is funding basic education for all children, while removing inequities that allowed wealthy school districts to gain a disproportionate funding advantage.

Tacoma Superintendent Carla Santorno (salary and benefits $347,161 a year) now says the state-funding increases will not prevent her from possibly laying off teachers.  She also says she wants to cancel the local property tax relief the legislature enacted.

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With billions more in state revenue, salmon deserve a small raise
By TODD MYERS  | 
Feb 20, 2019

With more than $6 billion in new state revenue projected for the next biennium, Washington state has the resources to prioritize salmon recovery. Last week, we were joined by other salmon advocates in Western Washington asking state budget writers to increase funding for salmon recovery projects by $125.8 million – about two percent of the increased revenue over the next two years.

Last week the new revenue forecast was released, indicating the state expects revenue collections to be “$153.6 million (2.9%) above the November forecast.” This new projection alone covers more than our request for additional salmon recovery funding.

The reason we made this request is that despite one of the largest increases in state revenue – without new taxes – the level of proposed funding for salmon recovery is actually lower than four years ago.

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Local income taxes, raising school levy limits, universal health care for state residents highlight legislative agenda this week

State lawmakers are busy this week moving legislation in time for Friday’s deadline, the last day for bills to be considered by policy committees in their house of origin. Bills that don’t make the cut-off are likely dead for the session.

However, Senate Democratic leaders have already declared one bill dead. SB 5784 would have exempted the Legislature from major provisions of the state’s Public Records Law. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Jamie Pederson (D-Seattle) said the proposal was shelved after strong pushback by open-government advocates during a hearing last week.

Budget and transportation related measures will continue to be considered until the next cut-off date of March 1st. That is the last day for bills to pass the fiscal and transportation committees in their house of origin.

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