Show me the money

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VKyqtSOYucs&feature=player_embedded[/youtube]

As I’ve written before, I’m rather agnostic about the specifics of HB 2261, the education reform bill that supposedly expands the definition of basic education, but includes no funding mechanism to actually pay for it.  In fact, at the same time legislators are patting themselves on the backs for bucking the teachers union to pass this bill, they’re also preparing to cut $2 billion from K-12 education.  And that’s an odd definition of reform.

I know there’s a lot of mumbling in Olympia about how this reform bill will serve as a necessary roadmap for setting funding priorities once the economy, and thus the budget, recovers, but I’m not so sure I buy the thesis that the budget will ever fully recover.  Rather, without some sort of structural revenue reform, I think we’ll more than likely look back on this crisis as marking a permanent ratcheting down of state spending power, and thus a permanent ratcheting down of state services and infrastructure investments. Even under a run of the mill economic recovery (and few economists expect even that) it’s hard to imagine state coffers recovering to pre-recession levels as either a percentage of personal income, or inflation-adjusted per capita revenue, let alone increasing to the level necessary to support the type of new spending promised.

So where will the extra money come from?

As the Washington Education Association angrily points out, the backers of this education reform bill can’t tell you, because to be honest, they don’t really have a plan to pay for these reforms.  But rather than just putting together angry YouTubes (however righteous), perhaps the WEA might want to accept their legislative defeat, and then fill the void by proposing a funding plan themselves.

I think you all know where I’m going with this.

As the Seattle Times’ Andrew Garber reports today, yet another poll shows a high-earners income tax, while far from a sure thing with voters, is anything but DOA:

A recent survey by Seattle pollster Stuart Elway found that 53 percent of voters questioned were “inclined to favor” an income tax on individuals making $250,000 or households earning $500,000.

The poll also found that 51 percent of voters questions favored small increase in the sales tax increase to help fund the Basic Health Plan.

Writing about the poll results, Elway said, “Although Washington voters are open to the discussion of tax increases to help close the $9 billion state government budget gap, they remain to be convinced. It will not be an easy sell, but most will not slam the door in your face if you bring up the subject.”

By my count that’s the third poll to show a high-earners income tax polling in the low to mid 50’s, and while one generally wants ballot measures to start off at least 10 points higher, it’s a damn sight better than anybody had expected going into this debate.  And to the “experts” who insist that’s not good enough, I say tell me… when do you ever expect conditions to get any better?

Remember, an income tax was approved at the polls in 1932 by a 70% margin, yet a similar constitutional amendment was handedly rejected by voters just two years later.  Sometimes, the time is just right.

So, yeah, that’s my advice to the WEA… the time is right.  If the Legislature won’t show you the money, then be proactive and show it to them:  a high-earners income tax.  It’ll never happen without your support… and without some sort of substantive revenue reform, these education reforms will never be fully funded.

Comments

  1. 1

    Bill spews:

    Ok…so that video is really out of touch with the current realities. Cute and righteous sure, but totally politically tone deaf. This is kind of behavior what got the WEA shut out of the process.

    But your larger point is true. There are encouraging poll numbers. The WEA could have been part of a broad coalition pushing for more revenue for education. But they decided to kick that coalition in the teeth.

    The PTA, Achievement gap groups, Early Learning organizations, Tribes, African American/Latino/Asian organizations, the Public School Employees Union, Law enforcement, 31 Editorial boards, every education reform non profit, OSPI a majority of the Democratic legislators and the Governor were all there ready to work to that end.

    But the WEA leaders chose a different path and here we are. The political ineptitude is really massive. All their political capital, paid for by your tax dollars, got them little, and the kids of Washington State less. Nicely done!

    With videos like these, I actually hope they allow others to run the campaign.

  2. 2

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Bill,

    “The WEA could have been part of a broad coalition pushing for more revenue for education.”

    Then why did this broad coalition push pie in the sky ‘reform’ rather than actually push to FUND public education. This is like saying we will work to make conditions better for slaves before we can push to make them free. It may be well meaning, but it is putting the cart before the horse.

    “But they decided to kick that coalition in the teeth.”

    Or perhaps the coalition decided to kick the WEA in the teeth?

    “…and the kids of Washington State less.”

    Oh cry me a river. We have been getting them less and less for years. But that’s all the WEA’s fault? You can’t be serious.

    You know, this so-called “broad coalition” could have made a concession or two also. So tell us, why didn’t they?

  3. 3

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Goldy,

    “I know there’s a lot of mumbling in Olympia about how this reform bill will serve as a necessary roadmap for setting funding priorities once the economy…

    Naturally that explains all the money that was carelessly thrown at education when times were flush and voters passed initiatives to fund smaller classrooms. Or perhaps not.

    HAH, HAH, HAH………….

  4. 4

    gs spews:

    If they are so damn out of money how come they are cramming 10+ new jobs per day out of their listserver every single day.

    Out of money my ass, they are out of their F’n minds spending like drunken sailors, and that is giving Drunkin sailors a bad name.

  5. 5

    gs spews:

    If they are so damn out of money how come they are cramming 10+ new jobs per day out of their listserver every single day.

    Out of money my ass, they are out of their F’n minds spending like drunken sailors, and that is giving Drunkin sailors a bad name.

  6. 6

    Bill spews:

    Proud to Be an Ass,

    Pie in the sky? Graduation Requirements that are middle of the pack nationally is pie in the sky? All day K is pie in sky? The State paying for 6 days instead of 5 is pie in the sky? You shoot too low my friend. These are common sense.

    The real question is why the WEA Leadership opposed common sense reform, with a constitutional commitment to fund it behind it?

    You ask about compromise. There was plenty.

    There were major portions of the original bills stripped. New Bills with the WEA tepid support, introduced. The compensation/Certification elements was punted to the PESB, where it was already.

    But the WEA leadership continued to rile up their membership about provisions that were no longer under consideration. How do you think it looked when the email in boxes were full of messages that had to relationship to the legislation? do you think it contributed to the votes?

    Weekly meetings in the Governors office and in the Senate were held, the WEA did not contribute or enter into any actual negotiations. They assumed their ability to crank out 30,000 emails a day would “kill the bills”.

    Well, they were wrong. Turns out the coalition above actually wanted our system to have the accountability, expectations and funding of to compete with the best systems in the world. As the Video shows, the WEA was only interested in the Money.

    You cannot get more money for the current system. Our teachers, who provided excellent testimony on the ills of the current system, deserve better. They perform remarkably well with the limitations the system puts on them.

    The issue the WEA leadership ultimately had was they based THEIR OWN offices on defeating the legislation. They had to “win”. They had to keep parents from actually taking part in the system on an independent basis. Well, they lost on the last count. We will see if the current leadership survives when they botched the session so badly.

  7. 7

    Bill spews:

    And a bigger issue is that the current system based on initiatives, special funds and the basic education fund was broken. We witnessed year after year of this house of cards fiance system not fulfilling the needs of our schools.

    Why would the WEA leadership fight so hard for the status quo when it is clear as day how broken it is?

  8. 8

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Bill,

    “Why would the WEA leadership fight so hard for the status quo when it is clear as day how broken it is?”

    The WEA fought for the status quo? Please. Everybody admits the present system is broken, but to admit to this crime is a meaningless empty gesture with absolutely no political cost. Wingnuts, tax nuts, and “vouchers will save civillization” spout the same line.

    What resolute leadershit. We can all be so proud. We now have goals without funding and the isolation of a powerful educational ally. Way to go.

    A real funding commitment would do a lot more to bring about educational reform than promises. I’d bet you a dollar to donuts that if you “showed them the money” they could be convinced to sing a different tune.

    So graduation rates are going to rise because we will it? Because we tweak a few rules? I’m sorry. That strikes me as misguided.

  9. 9

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    “Pie in the sky? Graduation Requirements that are middle of the pack nationally is pie in the sky?”

    Well, we are pretty much middle of the pack when it comes to resources expended. The outcome you decry is some kind of suprise to you? I am shocked.

  10. 10

    Bill spews:

    Proud to be an ass,

    “A real funding commitment would do a lot more to bring about educational reform than promises.”

    The redefinition of basic education, the paramount duty of the State is that binding commitment. The GOP yesterday in their testimony was whining about HAVING to fund education.

    Our funding system is designed for 1977. The WEA leadership just spent the entire session trying protect that system out of fear of losing political turf. Everything is fine, just send more money.

    Now, you are entirely correct that system has done little to engender trust to encourage the WEA to sing along. Unfunded initiatives, broken past promises, ham fisted implementation of the WASL…the skepticism of the WEA is well earned. Trust has been broken. The legislature has to own up to this.

    But we cannot be paralyzed by past failures. The reason they all failed, is none of them redefined basic ed. They did not legally bind the legislature to action.

    The future battles over money will be tough enough. I hope the WEA finds a way, and the coalition above find a way, to work together to do it.

  11. 11

    Proud To Be An Ass spews:

    Bill,

    Our funding system is designed for 1977.

    Please tell us how this reform addressed the funding issue head on.

    But we cannot be paralyzed by past failures.

    Agree.

    The reason they all failed, is none of them redefined basic ed. They did not legally bind the legislature to action.

    Curious. I look forward to the broad based revolution of public policy and its success wrought by simply changing a definition.

    The future battles over money will be tough enough.

    Agree.

    I hope the WEA finds a way, and the coalition above find a way, to work together to do it.

    Agree. I assume the coalition will be there to fight those future battles you mention. Let’s hope so. I also agree the WEA has needlessly experienced a phyrric loss, but they did have their reasons.

  12. 12

    seabos84 spews:

    @11
    Your rebuttals are outstanding. Maybe the tinfoil is wrapped too tightly around my head, but,

    (despite my feelign that my union, the WEA, is relatively incompetent)

    Bill strikes me as just an anti-union shill. When I was 20 in 1980 I would have tried to engage him and tried to change him –

    Hey Bill – you need a ride to vote for Dino? I’ll give you a lift! You write like some kind of Discovery Institute accolyte, AND, if you think unions are the problem, then you SHOULD vote for RayGun/Bush/Dino. ha ha ha. they’ll take care of you.

    rmm.

  13. 13

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Again with the looting tax Goldy? These people work hard, make smart choices and reap the rewards and they are the villians?
    Just because you are a whining failure financially does not entitle you to what someone else made.

    It’s not your money. Once again so even doped up leftists get it. It’s not your damn money! And again, It’s not your money, thieves!

    If you want to perform an act of social engineering let the banks, homeowners, auto manufacturers and anyone else incapable of managing their business fail. This is the only way out of this mess. If the original premise in a logical construct is flawed the whole argument is flawed. The only cure is to start over with a correct assumption. Stabilization of the economy will happen when smart money feels home prices and the general economy have reached bottom. Your marxist president won’t fool them into jumping before then. Our Dear Leader, the Chosen One, The Messiah is only prolonging the pain by faking a bottom to the market through massive spending of money we don’t have. That asshole is turning my country into a Bannana Republic no better than any of those pointless countries south of our border.

    Stealing from hard working people to pay for their less competent neighbors is unconstitutional. It is simple theft. It is immoral. A man has as much right to the consequences of his errors as to the rewards of his successes. The successes come from the lessons learned in errors. This is social engineering promoting the least intelligent and competent among us, and reinforcing the mistaken in their mistakes. So much for your high earner tax.

    The WEA is a union and as such part of the larger problem in our society. Unions are why industry has fled this country. They are why textiles are largely made elswhere. They are why American automobiles went from cutting edge to what they are. It is false and patently silly to assume that simply holding a job entitles you to any say whatever in upper level management policies. Get an education, work hard, sacrifice and become management and maybe I’ll give a damn what you have to say about wages or policies. Otherwise shut up, do your job to the best of your ability and collect your paycheck. Who cares what an assembly line worker has to say about complex management or fiscal issues? I worked at 2 union jobs in construction while in college. The workers were lazy, worthless, clock watching wastes of time to a man, at least any who didn’t quit in disgust.

    And your socialist dream? It never works. Where exactly is the USSR today. Oh yeah, a footnote in history. Read Atlas Shrugged instead of Karl Marx and you might have something to say. Otherwise, Goldy, shut the hell up and move where someone wants your workers paradise.

  14. 14

    gs spews:

    13 Amen! Bro

    This state is at 9.2% unemploment now and that is not even counting those who cannot find jobs. Businesses are fleeing this state and closing massive stores all over hell, as Socialism takes hold.

    The turd bags in Olympia had 5000 people on their steps two days ago and were to damn busy in their private session trying to figure out a new name for an Income tax and massive College tuition increases, and every F’n fee in the state a risin…

    Too pompus to even understand what that rally was the beginning of or what is about to hit them.

    Out of F’n control Property tax hikes (1% My F’n ASS)

    Income Tax – Not in your F’n wildest dreams

    Rename it to something Else Tax – Nice Try, it still will not fly

    Call it a TAX THE RICH only income tax, and watch the dribble down effect in a mere few F’n Years to everyone in this state..Not in your F’n lifetime

    Raise the Sales Tax, I’ll shop on Craigslist and F U

    What a F’n time to be piling on the taxes……

    What a F’n Time

  15. 15

    delbert spews:

    Goldy –

    Everybody should have some skin in the game if you want an income tax. And outlaw the sales tax in exchange or no deal. Rich people can move to low tax states, they do it all the time. Tax avoidance is an American tradition.

    Most folks are happy to sock it to the rich, not understanding that the definition of rich gets moved down to them, as the maw of government needs to get fed. “Feed me Seymour, feed me”.

  16. 16

    Winkydink, hey, it's April spews:

    Bill: What do you mean by “redefine basic education”??

    First, what is the definition of basic education now, and how do you want to redefine it?

    One of the first things YOU need to do is to define your terms, then maybe you can wax elequent about how the WEA has botched a huge political oportunity by failing to work with the legislature to redefine basic education. Why don’t we let the teachers redefine basic legislation?

    If you’ll recall, the Trjans, for all their grit and grasp of the basics, lost to the effete Athenians.

  17. 17

    gs spews:

    Hell Trump is bailing out of NY and heading for Florida where there is NO GODDAMN Income tax and there will never be.

    As in this state, the Camel’s Nose ain’t gettin into the tent, because it will never ever end

    Gregoire and her gang just signed a 6 Billion dollar unfunded School bill today, and who in the hell is going to pay for this in this economy. No F’n one

    Of course no 6 Billion dollar course of action was included in this Bogus Bill

    Because there is not another 6 Billion dollars anyone in their right F’n mind is going to Fork out! And they all Know it, or they better soon learn it!

    It was no more than a 6 Billion feel good Fart in the wind! You know it, They know it and I know it!

  18. 18

    notaboomer spews:

    how does this fit in with the teabagging lovers of liberty and the obama-induced gun purchasers that the seattle times has told me matter?

  19. 19

    proud leftist spews:

    Lost at 13: “Unions are why industry has fled this country.”

    Ah, yes, and where did industry go, my son? To which nations, please name them? Then, while you’re at it, you twit, tell me how the imbalance between labor and management helped the US economy over the last 8 years. Management of our industries, as you know, has been terribly productive.

  20. 20

    proud leftist spews:

    Lost @ 13
    I didn’t want to insult you, but I can’t help myself. You are what is wrong with this country. Why should a working person get stiffed for working, while some CEO or COO or CFO who knows not what he’s (gender specific because that’s the way it is), get bonuses for driving his company into the ground? We need stronger unions in this country. And, I say that as an employer. Reaganism is dead. His assault upon working people needs cremation. We will not, as a nation, become strong again until we have strong unions.

  21. 21

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    Respectfully, proud leftist, these are the answers insofar as I know them.

    Industry fled to places like China and Vietnam for manufacturing and India for service sector jobs.

    Imbalance? Which imbalance please? Yes the disparity between executive and shop floor pay has increased. Is this the imbalance to which you refer? ‘As I know’, and stated, to the extent that these policies put those companies at risk they should be allowed to fail. As an employer you know what this would mean in terms of employability for executives of failed companies. As an employer you probably know what it would mean to shareholders. That is the price of doing bad business or not examining your investment portfolio.

    Employees only get stiffed if they live beyond their means. Adequate protection for employees exist in Federal and State law throughout this country. The problem is that there are so few of them worth a damn.

    I’m what is wrong with this country? Really. I signed a mortgage I could afford on a vacation home after paying off my first home. I showed the mortgage to my attorney and went over the financial numbers for 2 weeks before signing. I made sure that in job loss, unexpected expenses or sickness I could pay my bills. I owe no credit card debt and own both of my cars. I gave marraige a lot of thought to make sure I could support a family. I’m not rich, but I live well, and enjoy life, within my means. So what did I do wrong that I should be asked to pay for other peoples’ bad decisions exactly? How am I the problem?

    Unions will continue to erode the work ethic of this country, as they have done for 60 years and more. They gaurantee jobs to people who should be fired. They dull the edge of the drive to put in a solid days work for the pay you agreed to accept on employment. Any worker has the right to quit and seek other work if the terms of employment are unacceptable. Unions add from 20 to 40 percent to the cost of doing business. Toyota pays an American worker around $50 dollars and hour, including taxes, hourly pay and other expenses. GM pays $70 for the same skillset. Around 5% of the cost of any American car is the cost of retired workers health care. These are poeple no longer even working for the company. Is it any wonder that GM makes a perfectly good but not innovative car? How could they afford to compete? Why do we need unions then? To make sure that all American money flows overseas to the Japanese and Chinese?

    I don’t want to insult you but Reagan did what a president is supposed to do. He did what your liberal icon, Kennedy, asked. He inspired Americans to do for themselves. He forced the Soviet Union to and over the brink. He didn’t assault working people. If you believe he did a bare contention is not enough. Where, my son, did he do so? I would stack a subsantive figure with actual convictions like Reagan against your inexperienced paper tiger in the Whitehouse any day, any time. Substance still matters more than appearance, no matter what liberals think.

  22. 22

    proud leftist spews:

    Hey, Sweetpea @ 21,
    Okay, I’m cherry picking, but here are a couple of your quotes: “Employees only get stiffed if they live beyond their means. Adequate protection for employees exist in Federal and State law throughout this country. The problem is that there are so few of them worth a damn.”

    Then, we have this gem: “Any worker has the right to quit and seek other work if the terms of employment are unacceptable. Unions add from 20 to 40 percent to the cost of doing business.”

    Lost, do you have any idea how little of our workforce is unionized? Damn, you’re dumb. Do you honestly believe that employers and employees are equal–“they have the right to quit”? Quit lying.

  23. 23

    spews:

    This entire debate is a little tone deaf in my view. I’m no “anti union shill” (just a mom – ok, maybe in the Patty Murray Sense ;) but I’ve been working for this bill since November, and I can tell you with absolute certainty that an education reform bill containing nothing but funding (like the full funding coalition bill) would have had a 0.0% chance of succeeding this session. This idea that the coalition that supported 2261 stood in front of some huge opportunity for more funding is ludicrous and completely out of touch with political reality.

    We got something done that has been needed for decades, and I’m proud of that. Now that basic education will be redefined, the state will be constitutionally obligated to pay for it. The only alternative at this point was to let the courts decide the definition – which they shortly would have done had the legislature failed to act. Without some sign of innovation in our educational system, we will not be the recipient of any further educational stimulus funds. This was a necessary step and an important one, and I’m not letting anyone rain on our parade today. (Particularly those of you who are really really late.)

  24. 24

    Winkydink, hey, it's April spews:

    re 21: “Unions will continue to erode the work ethic of this country, as they have done for 60 years and more.”

    I don’t agree that unions erode the work ethic. What erodes the work ethic is for a person to work loyally all their lives for a corporation that steals your retirement money, buys cheap ‘healthcare’ that is based not on caring for you health but on profit, and farms your job out to some starving Asian — and then expects to ship this crap back to the U.S. and sell it for a ton?

    You and your ilk are all BS. You are painting a rosy picture that falling off a horse and cracking your head will tear to financial pieces.

    A young adult sees these things and where do you suppose his/her ‘work ethic’ goes?

    Your fiction of the Puritan etic where those who work hard get all the goods because they desrve it and someone who doesn’t is just lazy — is in and of itself — the philosophy of a very lazy lazy intellect: YOURS.

  25. 25

    spews:

    @23: And that’s why people like me think that the pro-2261 crowd is out of touch with reality–the money to implement this bill isn’t going to be there this year, next year, and probably not in the next bienium either.

    Class size? Won’t happen.
    All-Day K for everyone? Won’t happen.
    Incredible salary increases? Won’t happen.

    What will happen is that OSPI gets more FTE to implement Pete Bylsma’s accountability system, and then they’ll get more FTE to establish their snitch squad of school “experts” (read: retired cronies) to go out and fix failing districts, and then there’ll be some more FTE added for teacher evaluators (read: snitches) who don’t know me, don’t know my class, but will get to decide if I’m a good teacher or not.

    Fuck that.

  26. 26

    lostinaseaofblue spews:

    The problem with discussing anything requiring facts with liberals is that it’s like having a sparring match with a bowl of jello. I bring observations supported by stated facts. The answer, almost always, is vulgar personal abuse without reference to the actual facts.

    “You and your ilk are all BS. You are painting a rosy picture that falling off a horse and cracking your head will tear to financial pieces.”

    Huh?! What in the world does that even mean?

    “I don’t agree that unions erode the work ethic. ”

    If a man has a job which he need not work to keep because unions will defend it no matter his incompetence, how hard do you suppose he’ll work? Benefits are just that, benefits. They aren’t rights. If someone worked at a good wage for GM for 30 years how come they don’t have their own retirement account independent of the company pension? How come they aren’t required to buy their own health insurance after retirement?

    A young adult just starting in todays’ labor market, in my experience in management, is a
    lazy disloyal and worthless waste of my training time in 95 cases out of 100.

    “Your fiction of the Puritan etic where those who work hard get all the goods because they desrve it and someone who doesn’t is just lazy — is in and of itself — the philosophy of a very lazy lazy intellect: YOURS.”

    Get all the goods. I don’t recall saying that, those are your words. I merely say that if a person cheerfully does their job to the best of their ability every day he will receive compensation for it. Either with that employer or with another better able to see ability. Lazy intellect is simply personal abuse and doesn’t require or deserve response.

    Proud leftist is right and I was imprecise. I assumed that it would be understood that added costs would only apply to unionized industries, like automotive. Indirectly they add costs to the rest of the market as well, but these are less quantifiable.

    Don’t call me a liar unless you can demonstrate a lie, sweetpea. Did Obama pass some law that a person can’t quit their job? If not then there is no lie in saying that employees can do so. No employers and employees aren’t equal. Of course they aren’t. But to paint the employee as helpless under the machinations of his boss is just silly.

  27. 27

    Winkydink, hey, it's April spews:

    re 25: Shove it.

    Facts don’t matter to you.

    You know very well that wages have been flat since the 70’s and workers lost ground throughout GWB’s ‘rain’.
    If you think you can buy loyalty with that kind of performance, you are seriously deluded. AND mentioning the Puritan ethic on my part was a mistake in assuming you knew and understood some basic American history.

  28. 28

    Winkydink, hey, it's April spews:

    Re 25: AND the reason you can’t discuss things with progressives is that it’s difficult to hear with your head that far up your ass.

    You must like what you are seeing there, because I see no inclination on your part to pull it out.

  29. 29

    sparky spews:

    Only our Legislature could reconcile trashing school funding and in the same breath call for more accountability. Following that line of reasoning, I think I will start paying my dentist only for the visits when I have no cavities.

  30. 30

    spews:

    @28: still not what this legislation is about. Let’s back up a step and read the bill before getting outraged. (And maybe then skip the outrage part.)

  31. 31

    spews:

    re:25 You said “…if a person cheerfully does their job to the best of their ability every day he will receive compensation for it. Either with that employer or with another better able to see ability.”

    A typical empty statement. You didn’t say anything at all. But it’s obvious that you believe wages are based on attitude and “ability.” That’s obviously untrue; tens of millions of people work their asses off in the U.S. at minimum wages or worse. How about agricultural workers, or fast food, etc.?

    Injustice can also be easily proved by simple arithmetic, by adding up the unearned, excessive takings of the super-rich. To the extent our wealthy financial class take money they have not earned, workers are screwed by the same amount (regardless of our obedient attitudes or ability).