The Legislature adjourned just before the stroke of midnight on Sunday. I am very glad we got done in 105 days. Unfortunately, I am not pleased with many of the results. In the late hours of the closing days of the 2019 legislative session, the majority party passed several taxes that will soon affect many Washingtonians.
Raising the school-levy lid. Senate Bill 5313 will enable a 67 percent hike in local property-tax rate, starting in 2020 by essentially undoing the local levy limit for school districts. Just one year after the Legislature fulfilled its obligation to address K-12 education funding as called for by the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, school districts and the state’s education establishment are claiming that Washington’s school-funding system is broken and insufficient. Despite this historic increase in K-12 education funding, many school districts put themselves in a budgetary bind when they bargained away the additional funding provided by the McCleary fix on larger teacher contracts last summer. Now districts see lifting the local-levy cap as a way to bring in more revenue to cover those pay raises. No one argues that teacher don’t deserve reasonable compensation — but when the average salaries are over $79,000 per year, these self-inflicted layoffs were perfectly foreseeable.