Dear Legislators

Despite the tough economic times, 20 0f 23 school levy and bond measures in King and Snohomish counties are passing, most by comfortable margins. Of the three that are currently failing, two are bond measures receiving over 50 percent of the vote, but which require 60 percent to pass. The only levy to fail is in Federal Way, and just barely at 49.7 percent.

And Seattle’s two school levies are both passing with over 71 percent of the vote.

That’s right, in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, a comfortable majority of voters in WA’s two most populous counties just voted to raise their own taxes to pay for schools.

Think about it.


  1. 1

    notaboomer spews:

    money to by more screens to make students more comatose will not cause voter turnout or knowledge to increase.

  2. 2

    Mistamatic spews:

    I don’t think most voters consider it raising their taxes, since these are just extensions of existing levies. Or does the fine print say the rate of taxation is going up a little?

  3. 3


    Mistamatic @2,

    I think most voters understand that passage will cost them hundreds of dollars a year in property taxes, and conclude that it’s worth the cost, as long as everybody else is paying for it too.

  4. 4

    Eric Koszyk spews:

    I did a quick look at election results around the state last night, and most levies were being passed by wide margins, even in very conservative counties in Eastern Washington.

    Coupled with the results from OR a few weeks ago and the defeat of 1033 last year and populist voter anger over bailouts of big banks, maybe it is time for our elected leaders to look at the creation of a progressive income tax in WA.

  5. 5

    Michael spews:

    They’re passing in Pierce County as well.
    Most school levies passing easily


    School officials in most South Sound districts breathed a sigh of relief Tuesday night as the majority of their funding measures appeared to be passing in early election returns.

    At stake for many districts was an estimated 20 percent of their operating budgets. In Tacoma and in Lakewood’s Clover Park School District, voters were asked to approve separate ballot measures to fund new and renovated schools.

    School districts including Franklin Pierce, Fife and Federal Way also asked for money to purchase computers and other types of technology.

  6. 6

    I Got Nuthin' spews:

    This is a sincere question.

    Are we still “…in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression…” or have things rebounded enough that a statement like that is no longer accurate?

  7. 7

    Blue John spews:

    People complain their taxes go into the government coffers and don’t do anything for THEM. School levys are one of the few places where people can see their tax dollars going to a program they see an benefit of.

    I know there are some who hate giving a dime that might help other people’s kids and not theirs,
    Or they feel the public school system is inadequate and thus it shouldn’t get a dime of their money,
    or they feel the public school system is too liberal and thus it shouldn’t get a dime of their money,
    but most of us, that vote, see a clear good coming from funding public schools.

    And that’s why they passed.

  8. 9

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @4 The funny thing about the bank bailout that’s setting off so much populist anger is that it will end up costing taxpayers not a penny and may even turn a profit for the gummint.

  9. 10

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 The danger of a deflationary death spiral certainly appears to be past, but unemployment is still as high as in the 1981-1982 recession, and we’re unlikely to see a quick rebound in GDP and we could see a “jobless” recovery.

    Usually a deep recession is followed by rapid GDP growth, but the 5.7% growth in the 4th quarter was a one-time event resulting from inventory rebuilding, and most economists expect growth in the 2% – 3% range for calendar year 2010, which is anemic for a recovery following a deep recession.

    The stock market likely will end 2010 with little or no net gain. Hiring should pick up this spring, but the unemployment rate probably will remain high throughout the year. Longer term, it will take at least 2 or 3 years for households to deleverage, so consumer spending will remain weak well beyond this year.

    Overall, an economic calamity has been narrowly averted and we’re probably out of the greatest danger now, but economic conditions will remain difficult for businesses and jobseekers for several more quarters.

  10. 11

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @6 To answer your specific question, conditions right now are roughly equal to the worst of the 1981 – 1982 recession; so, yes, it’s fair to say current conditions are as bad as anything since the Great Depression. At its depth, this was worse than the 1981 – 1982 slump, and it also has lasted longer, so this will go down in history as the second worst economic bust of the last 100 years.

  11. 12

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @7 The instigation of universal free public education in the 19th century was the foundation for America’s economic and military strength in the 20th century. Without the skilled workforce that public education produced, we would not have been the industrial superpower that we became.

  12. 13

    Ekim spews:

    @8 Those figures don’t include the under employed and the discouraged no loner actively looking for work.

  13. 14

    uptown spews:

    @11 From a personal perspective, I would say the big difference between now and the 1981 – 1982 recession are the demographics. 81-82 saw the the end of the baby boomers graduating with no job prospects, and this time around we have the first baby boomers retiring. So I am slightly optimistic about unemployment going down earlier rather than later.

  14. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @14 Your optimism may be misplaced. Baby boomers are likely to work longer because their retirement nest eggs shrunk, reducing job opportunities for younger people.

  15. 16

    nolaguy spews:

    @9 The funny thing about the bank bailout that’s setting off so much populist anger is that it will end up costing taxpayers not a penny

    I’ll bet you the amount of one of your monthly .gov checks that they cost the taxpayers at least $1 billion. Heck – I might take that up to $100 billion. Either is significantly higher than your opinion of “costing taxpayers not a penny”.

    It’s already known that billions of TARP money “loaned” to the auto companies will not be repaid.

    AIG? The Treasury has said that the taxpayer will lose at least $30 billion on that tarp deal.

    TARP was supposed to jumpstart lending from banks that took TARP money. ‘Still hasn’t happened, so now .gov is going to use TARP to lend directly to small businesses.

    Some banks are repaying the taxpayer with TARP payments. Most will not.

  16. 17

    lebowski spews:

    How many of the school levies were just replacements of previous levies that were expiring – thus not really raising any taxes.

    just curious..

  17. 18

    proud leftist spews:

    The Dems in the state senate have manned up and suspended the 2/3 majority provision which I-960 requires before taxes can be raised. It’s nice to see we have some adults around. Those voting yes took an unpopular but absolutely necessary position. I’m proud to be a Washington Democrat today.

  18. 19

    ArtFart spews:

    @17 probably most of them. There’s nothing “special” about school levies, since the Legislature has never come near fulfilling its responsibility of fully funding “basic” education.

  19. 23

    And..... spews:

    And…if the Dems hadn’t made simple majority possible, how many levies would have failed. A lot!

  20. 24

    proud leftist spews:

    People like Max think that responsible legislators get hard-ons from raising taxes. They don’t seem to recognize that raising taxes is the same as a family, trying to reconcile its budget, who recognizes that more income is needed, even if that means taking on a second job.

  21. 26

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @18 I didn’t hear you complaining about “political payoffs” when Bush was borrowing a trillion dollars from China to give tax breaks to his buddies, or squandering billions of taxpayer dollars on no-bid crony contracts. Why, Mr. Hypocrite?

  22. 29

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @24….most responsible families will cut their spending first, and then find a second only if needed.

    nice analogy fool….next time try and get it right.

  23. 30

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @26….we are talking about Washington State, this has nothign to do with the feds.

    nice try strawman…but you epic fail again.

    goebbels himmler rabbit da fool..

  24. 31

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    How come the state’s union workers are still getting pay raises, while many others in the state have either lost their jobs or have taken pay cuts to stay employed?

    answer: because that ugly bitch of a governor is bought off by the crooked unions.

    case closed.

  25. 33


    @31, because they have contracts. Breaking contracts may sound like a good idea, for other people, but where do you draw the line on the government breaking contracts?

    I think the choice was take a pay cut or layoff more people, they chose the more layoff side. I do not think this was the case with all of the unions, but I think some if them.

  26. 34

    Max Rockatansky spews:

    @33…the gov can nut up and state to the unions: either we re-negotiate the contracts to halt the scheduled pay increases or be prepared for many of your members to be laid off.

    I know of a few unions right now that are seriously considering re-doing their contracts to scale back on pay and benefits in order to better allow companies to stay competitive and stay in business.

    and for gods sake, doesnt it seem the slight bit crooked for the gov unions to be allowed to contribute to the campaigns of politicians (or political parties) – the same politicians that negotiate and approve the union contracts(on one form or another)….damn.