During his campaign announcement speech, gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna (R) was all about education. The only problem is…he has no way to fund the pricey stuff he proposed:
“Rob McKenna’s $5.76 billion education plan flunks basic math,” said Aaron Ostrom, Executive Director of Fuse Washington, the state’s largest progressive organization. “He’s trying to fool voters with a smoke and mirrors plan that even he himself has labeled ‘hard to fathom.'”
McKenna made two specific and ambitious spending proposals:
- Doubling higher education spending from 8 percent ($2.56 billion) to 16 percent ($5.12 billion) of the state’s $32 billion budget, an increase of $2.56 billion.
- Growing public education’s share of the budget from 41 percent ($13.12 billion) to 51 percent ($16.32 billion), an additional increase of $3.2 billion.
In total, Rob McKenna proposed $5.76 billion in new spending in just one hour – $600 million more than the budget deficit the Legislature spent nearly five months working to close.
To pay for it, McKenna has two modest proposals…. Regardless of the merits or feasibility of either proposal, combined they would pay for just 13 percent of McKenna’s new spending.
McKenna is also relying on revenue assumptions that don’t pass muster, even with himself. When pushed by several reporters after his speech, McKenna admitted he was also relying on the estimated 13 percent growth in government revenue (approximately $4 billion) for the next biennium.
Big talk…zero chance of realizing it—the math just doesn’t pan out. Man…that McKenna sure has difficulties when it comes to mathematics!
But who do educators actually support? Well, it is a little early to say for sure, but Publicola’s Josh Feit made an interesting observation:
Inslee raised nearly $10,000 from teachers and educators—not the union, just individual teachers, about 30 of them. McKenna has raised just $850 from teachers, a low number for a candidate who’s stumping on education issues.
- Educators find Jay Inslee to be the more appealing candidate, and we might expect a roughly similar 10:1 ratio of donations from educators to Inslee:McKenna in the future.
- It’s a one-time anomaly. Inslee’s just received a transient surge of donations from appalled math teachers.
Which one is right? Beats the hell out of me. I report, you decide.