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Washington State Republicans Propose New Funding Formula

In response to a 2012 state supreme court ruling, Washington's Republicans Friday proposed to replace local school levies with a statewide uniform rate in order to pay for a teacher pay increase, according to the Associated Press.  

Under the proposal, the state's beginning teachers would receive $45,000 annual salary, up from the $35,700 they currently receive. But a clause in the proposal would prevent teachers from striking, as they did in 2015.  

For years, the state's GOP has pushed back against raising taxes after the state's supreme court in the 2012 McCleary v. State of Washington decision, ruled that the state should pick up a greater share of education costs. Since that ruling, the state has increased its education funding by $2 billion, but has yet to address the most expensive part of the ruling, which is to increase the state's teacher pay. That's estimated to cost $2.75 billion over the next three years. In the meantime, the court is fining the legislature $100,000 for every day the legislature is in session and doesn't come up with a new funding formula. The court set a deadline of September 2018.  

Democrats earlier this year proposed to raise taxes in several key areas to spend about $7 billion over the next four years.  

Last month, Gov. Jay Inslee said he will place in his budget a proposed carbon tax on companies that generate or import electricity, natural gas or oil, refineries, and fuel importers. It would be one of the first of its kind in the nation and has gotten strong pushback from the state's business community. 

A bipartisan task force was expected to come out with a single plan that the state's legislature could agree to this session, but that plan never came to fruition. 


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