Discuss: Raise taxes for education funding?
Republican Rob McKenna and Democrat Jay Inslee, do not agree on much but the gubernatorial candidates both pledge to dramatically boost education spending without raising taxes.
Gov. Chris Gregoire questions their math, particularly the assertion that education spending can be increased without higher taxes. As the Times' Andrew Garber writes, the state Office of Financial Management projects that meeting the state Supreme Court's McCleary mandate will cost $1 billion more than the state has over the next two-year budget cycle.
Add in expenses such as COLAs for teachers and restoring state-worker pay and the tab rises to $2.6 billion.
McKenna offers the more specific and thus credible response to Gregoire's question. In a plan outlined last week, McKenna said he would cap growth in non-education state spending at no more than 6 percent per biennium, while relying on state revenue to increase about 9 percent per biennium. Gregoire is not the only early doubter; last week I questioned whether McKenna's projections were too rosy to pencil out. The answer appears to be no. McKenna's 9.2% revenue growth projection assumes 1.7% annual inflation, 1.3% annual population growth, and a 1.5% real economic growth rate - coincidentally, the same rate the economy is recovering at currently. Those projections roughly match OFM's estimates.
Achenblog by Joel Achenbach
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