It will be worth listening to Governor Christine Gregoire on KUOW this morning at 9:00. Cool stuff is the table.
One big issue is yesterday’s Supreme Court decision that:
The State has failed to meet its duty under article IX, section 1 by consistently providing school districts with a level of resources that falls short of the actual costs of the basic education program. The legislature recently enacted sweeping reforms to remedy the deficiencies in the funding system, and it is currently making progress toward phasing in those reforms. We defer to the legislature’s chosen means of discharging its article IX, section 1 duty, but the judiciary will retain jurisdiction over the case to help ensure progress in the State’s plan to fully implement education reforms by 2018. We direct the parties to provide further briefing to this court addressing the preferred method for retaining jurisdiction.
As Publicola points out, this feels like
…one of those damning federal court orders to put a bankrupt business or corrupt union in receivership
The real problem isn’t that lawmakers somehow dislike funding education. Rather, the education funding problem arises from four issues:
- The worst economy since the Great Depression that has resulted in drastic shortfalls in projected revenue
- Another Constitutional duty, a balanced budget, that has resulted in massive cuts in numerous state services
- Republican obstructionism in adequately funding the government
- Lawmaker’s inability to raise new revenues with a simple majority to a great extent because of the 2/3 majority requirement in Initiative 1053
Many of us believe I-1053 is unconstitutional, and a July court case is pending. The Supreme court has previously weaseled its way out of making a decision about whether an initiative can impose a standard on lawmakers that trumps the state Constitution.
Yesterday Gregoire announced that:
…she plans to bypass the state attorney general’s office and seek court guidance on the constitutionality of a law limiting tax increases.
Gregoire, who is technically listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, said she is working with outside counsel to petition the courts for a ruling on Initiative 1053, which requires lawmakers to have a two-thirds majority to raise taxes.
Gregoire says, “fuck you, Rob McKenna,” and goes straight to the Supreme Court.
Given that I-1053 is one of the biggest impediments for lawmakers to adequately fund basic education, and given that the Supreme Court is now playing an active role in forcing lawmakers to meet this Constitutional duty, Gregoire’s request is an offer the Supreme Court cannot refuse.