Gov. Inslee signs education funding plan

Governor Inslee says for the first time in decades, Washington is going to "fully fund" schools. It's going to cost taxpayers through higher property tax bills--at least next year.

Gov. Jay Inslee has signed into law a measure that seeks to bring the state into compliance with a state Supreme Court mandate to increase state dollars to basic education.

Inslee signed the measure Thursday surrounded by legislative leaders from both parties, budget negotiators and school-aged children.

Related: Property tax increase for some, lower for others under state budget

He said that he believes the plan fully funds basic education for the state's children.

The measure relies on an increase to the statewide property tax that is earmarked for education. The plan - which keeps in place local property tax levies but caps them beginning in 2019 at a lower level- will ultimately raise property taxes for some districts and lower them in others.

The state has been in contempt of court for lack of progress on satisfying a 2012 state Supreme Court ruling that found that school funding was not adequate.

Meanwhile, a group of 23 House Democrats is encouraging Inslee to veto a bill that would provide tax breaks for manufacturing companies.

One reason cited: a lack of transparency in the budget process.

Lawmakers and the public had less than a day to review the negotiated budget agreement. The bill is up for the governor's signature Friday afternoon.

On Thursday he wouldn't say if he was going to veto it.

"We'll prefer to talk about that tomorrow," said Inslee. But he added, "The concerns are legitimate about the process of this just taking place in the dark of night, with a lack of transparency. I understand that."
 
Senator John Braun, R-Lewis County, the lead budget negotiator for the Republicans, said it's "disappointing and disturbing" if the governor even considers a veto.

"Hopefully that's not what will happen," said Braun, "but it will make for negotiations, both now in the future, very difficult if we feel like we can't complete a deal that was made; that's going to make a hard problem even harder."

© 2017 KING-TV


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