Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Still no budget - kids need payment plan

Special session ends at midnight tonight.

Still no budget deal as day ends, but lawmakers continue to negotiate (from TVW - Monday night wrap)
Gregoire pitching new proposal as deadline nears (from AP - Monday afternoon wrap)
Senate passes K-12 health insurance bill, balanced budget bill (from TVW - Saturday wrap)

The areas of negotiation continue to be a balanced budget bill, K-12 health insurance bill and pension/early retirement bill - not the budget. Yesterday the House Ways and Means postponed twice and then cancelled a meeting to take action on its version of a balanced budget bill and K-12 insurance benefits.

In 2009, the legislature decided on a great plan for basic education.

In 2012, the supreme court ruled the state was failing its paramount duty to pay for that plan and cover its legal obligations.

Our state needs some resolution. We need a strategy to pay for education and maintain the safety net families rely on.

The McCleary court decision means the state must follow through on promises for significant funding increases to pay for class-size reduction, all-day kindergarten and graduation requirements that prepare all of our children for jobs, technical training or college.

Please insist that when the next session starts legislators have a payment plan ready to move -- such as called for in House Bill 2824. It's time to talk about tax structures and budgeting strategies that take care of our children and invest in their potential.

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