April 15, 2019
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With two weeks to go, lawmakers focusing on budget negotiations

The House and Senate budget-writers are negotiating on the final compromise state budget. Despite an additional $5.6 billion in new revenue, the majority Democratic leaders are continuing to call for new or increased taxes. The legislative session is scheduled to end on April 28.

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Boeing and Washington STEM celebrate signing day at the Capitol for students committed to STEM

Forty-nine students from every corner of Washington officially committed to STEM education programs and careers during a packed signing ceremony on Friday in the Capitol. Boeing executives and recipients of the business-funded Washington Opportunity Scholarship greeted these high schoolers and posed for photos.

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Legislature passes 100-percent clean energy bill

The state House has passed the 100-percent clean energy bill. The measure would mandate elimination of natural gas, coal and other fossil fuels from Washington's power supply by 2045. The bill has been a priority of Gov. Jay Inslee, and originally passed out of the Senate on the same day Inslee announced his presidential campaign on a clean-energy agenda.

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Low-carbon fuel standard bill misses key legislative cutoff

A bill that would mandate cleaner-burning (and more costly) fuel missed a key legislative deadline last week. However, the bill could theoretically be resurrected by inclusion in the operating budget.

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Nikki Haley to give keynote address at Spring Meeting

AWB's Spring Meeting in Spokane will feature a keynote address from Nikki Haley, the United States ambassador to the United Nations from 2017-19. Prior to serving as America's 29th permanent representative to the U.N., Haley was elected twice to serve as governor of South Carolina. Her keynote address, sponsored by Boeing, will mark the second time that AWB's Spring Meeting has been held in the Davenport Grand Hotel's spacious ballroom.

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Spring Meeting
State Funding


Lifting levy lid violates spirit of McCleary deal

By The Columbian Editorial Board

Efforts in the Legislature to remove a lid on local school levies represent a step backward for school funding in Washington. Rather than invite a return to inequitable funding and open the door for lawsuits, lawmakers should provide state funding where necessary and adhere to a hard-fought agreement.

Following the 2012 state Supreme Court ruling in McCleary v. Washington, lawmakers took five years to hammer out a compromise in which the state would fully fund public K-12 education. That compromise limited local levies to $1.50 per $1,000 in assessed property value or $1,500 per student, whichever is less.

That was the promise lawmakers gave to taxpayers in 2017 -- state property taxes would increase in order for the Legislature to live up to its "paramount duty" of funding basic education. In exchange, local levies would decrease. The adjustments would prevent inequalities between districts that were at the heart of the McCleary decision; local levies had been used to fund basic expenses such as teacher salaries, creating disparities between wealthy districts and poor districts.

Now, school districts want the Legislature to keep both state and local property taxes high. Senate Bill 5313 would allow districts to tax up to $2.50 per $1,000 in assessed value -- a 67 percent increase from the current law -- or $2,500 per student, depending on a district's enrollment.

Passage of such a plan would put the state on the road to McCleary 2.0. It would invite the return of an unfair funding system that triggered the lawsuit in the first place and that had the amenities of a public education determined by a student's ZIP code.

Read the full editorial in The Columbian
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