Topic: League of Education Voters
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February 27, 2013 at 3:25 PM
OLYMPIA — The Washington State Supreme Court is expected to rule Thursday whether requiring a two-thirds majority for lawmakers to raise taxes is constitutional.
One way or another, the ruling could affect lawmakers who are now trying to close a roughly $1 billion budget shortfall and deal with the court’s last major decision — last year’s order to significantly increase funding for public schools.
In general, Democrats are looking toward new taxes while Republicans do not favor tax increases. A ruling that the two-thirds requirement is constitutional, then, would boost the GOP. A ruling the other way would allow taxes to be increased with a simple majority vote.
But it’s not a given the Legislature would approve new taxes even if the court overturns the two-thirds requirement. Republicans control the state Senate and oppose any tax increase. And Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee has said he would not approve new taxes, although he’s indicated he’s open to extending existing taxes.
The court’s ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by the League of Education Voters and other groups against Initiative 1053, a 2010 initiative sponsored by Tim Eyman that reinstated the two-thirds requirement. The two-thirds restriction was first authorized by voters in 1993. It was reimposed in 1998, 2007 and 2010, at least in part because of lawmakers’ penchant for suspending the requirement to raise more revenue.
The court has been asked to rule on the constitutionality in the past, and each time has avoided a direct decision.
September 6, 2012 at 4:17 PM
Citing issues with the education platforms of both Rob McKenna and Jay Inslee, the League of Education Voters announced Thursday it is not endorsing either candidate.
“While both candidates offer promising ideas for improving education in Washington, neither rises to the standard necessary to receive our endorsement,” Bob Roseth, chair of the group’s board of directors, said in a news release. “In particular, neither candidate offers a credible plan for ample, sustainable funding of a world-class public education system.”
Both Republican McKenna and Democrat Inslee have pledged to find at least $1 billion more for education, but questions remain about how each would do it.
In its announcement, the League praised McKenna’s ideas for education policy changes and Inslee’s commitment to increasing education funding. But it criticized McKenna’s funding plan for relying “too much on overly optimistic estimates of growth” and Inslee for lacking detail and opposing charter schools.
“To LEV, revenue and reform are irrevocably linked. One without the other is not a truly serious education agenda,” Roseth said. “Neither candidate presented a plan that delivered on both halves of this equation.”
The group did, however, praise Inslee for becoming more specific as the campaign has gone on.
Education has emerged as a central issue in the governor’s race, especially after the state Supreme Court ruled in January that the Legislature is not fully funding education.
While education has traditionally been a Democratic issue, McKenna has sought to make it a major focus this year. Overall, both candidates have similar ideas on the topic, and polls have shown that voters are split on who would handle it better.
The League, an education advocacy group, endorsed Democratic incumbent Gov. Chris Gregoire in 2008. It didn’t endorse in 2004.
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