Democrat State Sen. Christine Rolfes wrote an op-ed piece that appeared in the Seattle Times today that is stunning in its attempt to revise history. In typical liberal fashion, Rolfes ignores the budget mess her party has created for the state, and now calls for “no more excuses” and demands that the state spend “more money on public education.”
She tries to give her ideas credibility by attacking others – writing that “You may have heard slogans like ‘reforms before revenue’ and ‘fund education first.’ They’re catchy, but they aren’t solutions.”
Of course, the “catchy slogans” Rolfes is referring to are those developed by Republicans, to present solutions for meeting the legislature’s constitutional duty to fund public schools – a duty which Democrats have ignored while in control of the state’s budget for the last 30 years.
The truth is that Democrats have been underfunding public education and higher education spending for a generation. They have controlled at least one house of the Legislature in 28 of the last 30 years – and complete control of the Legislature in 14 of those years. A Democrat governor has signed every state budget since 1985. Under the heavily Democrat-controlled budgets, the education over non-education spending ratio was 1:2 (that’s two dollars for bigger government for every new dollar of education funding).
On the other hand, Republicans have already proved that simply funding education first can provide a solution. During the last two legislative sessions, under the Majority Coalition Caucus (MCC) and Republican leadership, the state budget has prioritized education over non-education spending at a 4:1 ratio for the first time in 30 years. That’s all without raising taxes. The State Supreme Court referred to the change as significant progress.
As Shift pointed out, prioritizing education is not just throwing more money at problems or reducing class sizes, it’s about improving quality. That’s why Republicans are pushing for education reforms. Unfortunately, Rolfes indicates in her op-ed that Democrats will continue to fight against this type of progress, probably because that will keep campaign contributions flowing from the special interest group that has benefitted most by the liberal approach to school funding – the state teachers union.