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Smith on Politics: Local Legislators Struggle with Budget Cuts After Court Says School Support Isn’t Adequate

Supreme Court ruling on public school funding is likely going to force legislators to look elsewhere for big cuts

The State Supreme Court decision that Washington isn’t adequately supporting its public schools makes cutting the needed $1.5 billion difficult.

State Rep. Ruth Kagi said Sunday that she and fellow members of the House Ways and Means Committee will spend the next four weeks trying to figure it out.

State Sen. Maralyn Chase said Thursday that cutting support for public schools won’t happen in the Legislature now that the Court has ruled that the State has not met its obligations to support public education.

Chase said that the Legislature would have to make cuts other places, citing the Basic Health plan as an example.

She said that cuts to the Basic Health plan would be painful to many people.

Chase and Kagi represent Shoreline, Lake Forest Park, Kenmore, Woodway, south Edmonds and the rest of the 32nd Legislative District. The District will change in the coming election to exclude Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and nearby areas while picking up Lynnwood and part of northwest Seattle.

Chase says she favors full cent increase in sales tax

Chase said that, while she supports Gov. Christine Gregoire’s call for a half-cent-per-dollar increase in the state sales tax, she would go further and support a full cent increase.

She said that she supports a proposal that State Sen. Paull Shin of Edmonds made last year for a full cent per dollar increase that would expire when unemployment falls below a certain level.

Support in Legislature for gay marriage

Chase said that she expects the governor’s proposal for gay marriage to pass the Legislature.

She said that same-sex marriage has enough support to pass in the House but is now two or three votes short in the Senate with a few undecided senators. 

Expect lots of November ballot measures

Chase expects several items from the Legislature to end up on the November general-election ballot.

One would be the sales tax.

Another is same-sex marriage, which, if passed by the Legislature, would certainly bring a referendum. The third is marijuana legalization, an initiative to the Legislature, which the Legislature is likely to pass to voters.  

About this column: Journalist and Shoreline resident Evan Smith has covered local issues for nearly two decades. His politics column appears on Patch at least weekly. Contact him at schsmith@frontier.com.

 

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