Published December 06, 2012
Dems lay out K-12 tax plans; GOP firm on no taxesBrad Shannon
Democratic members of the Legislature’s task force on K-12 education funding laid out a few new tax options to pay for K-12 schools yesterday, answering the state Supreme Court’s ruling the state isn’t meeting its constitutional duty to amply fund basic education. Republicans led by Rep. Gary Alexander of Thurston County were sticking to their guns on using unspecified spending cuts to come up with the $1 billion to $2 billion needed. John Stang does a good job of sorting through the options in this online news report that says in part:
Sen. David Frockt was frustrated by Republicans not putting a budget fix-it plan on the table as a starting point for negotiating a compromise.
"We're getting nothing from the other side. There's nothing to gauge (the Democrats' proposals) against. ... They're proposing nothing. So what do we do?" said Frockt, D-Seatte and a task force member.
Republicans will see whether the final Democrat proposal collects enough votes to pass before unveiling their own no-tax-hike proposal, said task force member Rep. Gary Alexander, R-Olympia and the Republicans' chief budget writer in the House.
"I don't believe they can get the votes for it," Alexander said. The House Republicans don't want to budge from their no-tax-increases stance, he said, adding that a Republican proposal now would not fare well against the Democrat majority.
"I can count votes," he said.Links to the various proposals are clustered here or available as follows: - A “straw man” proposal on accountability spending is from Rep. Marcie Maxwell, a Democrat, and is linked here. - A proposal from House Majority Leader Pat Sullivan, D-Covington, is here. He proposes a continuance of business-occupations taxes on business past their mid-2013 expiration date as well as retaining a temporary tax on beer; Sullivan’s plan also transfers $900 million in pupil transportation costs to the state transportation budget, eliminates unspecified tax breaks for $200 million, books $100 million in state savings from the Affordable Care Act, and cuts $300 million in spending. - Two Senate Democratic proposals are hereand here. One Senate proposal cuts $300 million in spending while retaining the three-year business-occupations tax surcharge due to expire mid-year; it also closes tax breaks, uses the state’s Rainy Day Fund and adds a hospital safety-net assessment to raise $276 million over two years. The other uses a shift in transportation funds and retains both the business and beer taxes for $653 million in new revenues, as well as closes tax breaks and enacts the hospital safety-net fee. Stay tuned. Any new revenues would require a two-thirds legislative supermajority vote under Tim Eyman’s latest initiative unless the state Supreme Court strikes down the requirement in a case argued in late September.