The Legislature is under a court order to stop relying on local school district property tax levies to pay for basic education costs, such as teacher salaries. Would you support increasing taxes at the state level to comply with state Supreme Court’s orders in the McCleary case? What is your view of a plan that would lower local property taxes while increasing the statewide common schools levy — an idea commonly known as a levy swap?
The state Supreme Court held the state in contempt and began imposing fines over the Legislature’s failure to provide a school funding plan. Do you think the court overstepped its bounds? Why or why not?
A proposed statewide ballot measure would repeal a new rule that allows transgender individuals to use restrooms and locker rooms that match their gender identity. Do you support this measure, which would allow businesses to require transgender people to use restrooms and locker rooms that correspond to the sex they were assigned at birth? Why or why not?
Another citizen initiative would impose a carbon pollution tax to try to curb carbon emissions that contribute to climate change. That measure, I-732, would decrease other taxes to offset the new pollution tax. Other proposals, like one previously promoted by Gov. Jay Inslee, would tax the state’s largest polluters and set a statewide cap on carbon emissions, without reducing other state taxes. Would you support either of these plans if elected? If not, what measures would you favor to address climate change?
Candidate deadline responses June 27. Public viewing will be made available by the Tacoma Voter Guide………http://www.courts.wa.gov/appellate_trial_courts/SupremeCourt/?fa=supremecourt.McCleary_Education
McCleary, et al. v. State of Washington Supreme Court Case Number 84362-7
In January 2007, a lawsuit was filed on behalf of two families against the State of Washington for not meeting its constitutional obligation to amply fund a uniform system of education. By February 2010, King County Superior Court had declared the State out of compliance with Article IX of the Washington State Constitution. The oral argument for McCleary, et al. v. State of Washington was heard in front of the Washington Supreme Court on June 28, 2011.
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The State claims E2SSB 6195 is the court-ordered plan.That bill created another task force to come up with ideas/recommendations for the 2017 legislature to consider. That’s not a complete year-by-year plan for phasing in the State’s ample funding of each component of its basic education program by the 2017-2018 school year. As the Superintendent’s amicus brief aptly states: E2SSB 6195 is “nothing more than a plan to plan” – and after all the State’s prior task forces, studies, and reports, the real reason for legislators’ continuing non-compliance with the court rulings in this case is not a lack of information, but rather a lack of any pressing urgency for them to use that information.7 The Paramount Duty amicus brief thus accurately notes that E2SSB 6195 is simply “a kick-the-can plan” to delay for another year.8 Put bluntly, E2SSB 6195 was a way for legislators and the Governor to delay serious debate and resolution until after the November 2016 election (as well as a way to ensure the legislative session adjourned without extended delay, thereby ensuring a timely end to the no-fundraising-during-session freeze impacting their November re-election campaigns
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– 6 – 51530057.6C.Compliance Conclusion. Amici are correct: the actions taken by the State’s 2016 legislature did not constitute compliance with the court orders in this case. The State still has not purged its September 2014 contempt. III.ANSWER TO AMICI’S ARGUMENTS ABOUT COMPELLING THE STATE’S COMPLIANCE A.Whether Government Officials Should Be Compelled To Obey Constitutional Rights And Court Orders. Amici maintain that constitutional rights and court orders should be enforced. 9 They’re right. Lawmakers are not above the law.Constitutional rights and court orders are not simply suggestions for lawmakers to consider when it fits their political self-interest. And as the State Superintendent of Public Instruction points out, failing to now firmly enforce the rulings in this case would “reduce the court to the level of beggar.”10 The Paramount Duty amicus similarly discusses in detail why this Court not only has the power, but the duty, to ensure that Washington children’s positive constitutional right to an amply funded K-12 education is not violated by the action or inaction of another branch.11 9 Superintendent’s Brief at p.18; Paramount Duty’s Brief at pp.10-20.
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It therefore was not unusual for this Court to impose a large monetary fine to try to compel Washington legislators to obey the court orders in this case regarding the State of Washington’s paramount constitutional duty to amply fund Washington children’s K-12 education.
“We’ve waited. We’ve lobbied. We’ve written our representatives. It’s time!”Strike Against the Legislature! The $1.3 billion statewide public education budget the legislature is proposing contains a pitiful 3 percent salary increase for teachers stretched over two years even as the legislators propose an 11 percent pay increase for themselves.
My answers along with the other participating candidates will be posted soon on the Tacoma Voter Guide.