House Democrats want to pay off their biggest union campaign donor, the WEA, by boosting teachers’ salaries at the expense of funding meant to reduce classroom sizes, pay for emergency response needs (like wildfire suppression), and reducing youth homelessness. A new plan pushed by Democrats would “alter the $38 billion, two-year state budget adopted in 2015.” The alterations included directing $318 million from these services and an additional $148.9 million from the fund for school construction.
But, that’s not all. Democrats have also proposed $99 million teacher-recruitment package. Democrats want to pay for the package by (surprise, surprise) raising taxes. They’ve proposed closing six tax exemptions, including a sales-tax exemption on bottled water.
All in all, Democrats’ proposal would cut a whopping $487 million in the next two-year budget cycle intended for meeting McCleary obligations to full fund K-12 education, including reducing class sizes.
As GOP state Senator Steve Litzow stated, “House Democrats’ cut to education funding demonstrates exactly why we’re in the position we are today, facing a state Supreme Court mandate and a system that does not work for all children.”
Democrats have underfunded education for the past 32 years, since they have held the governor’s office. Ultimately, their actions resulted in the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision. So, Democrats latest move to prioritize special interests over education should come as no real surprise.