If you want to judge the effectiveness of the recent illegal teachers’ strikes across the state, you don’t have to look much further than the House Democrats revised spending plan released yesterday. The Democrats’ new plan not only continues to limit the Washington Education Association’s (WEA) so-called class size reduction initiative (I-1351) to Kindergarten through 3rd grade – as the Senate also does – it also removes a proposed $207 million spending increase for K-12 state employees health care benefits.
House Democrats’ revised spending plan must have provoked the ire of the WEA, because the top Democrat budget writer is already walking back the removal. During a press conference yesterday, state Rep. Ross Hunter confirmed that the health care revision received “a lot of blowback” from his fellow liberal caucus members. Hunter went on to say that another amendment (presumably to re-instate all or some part of the $207 million) would be presented on Wednesday. Given that Democrats continue to insist new taxes are needed to meet our state’s spending obligations, it’s unclear whether Hunter will seek cuts elsewhere or look to raise even more in taxes to restore the $207 million in special interest spending.
It’s clear that the House Democrats revised spending plan met with the extreme disapproval of the WEA. But, interestingly enough, the WEA refrained from publically criticizing Democrats. Meanwhile, the teachers’ union continues its full-scale attack on Senate Republicans. In the end, it’s just further proof of the extreme partisan agenda associated with the illegal teachers’ strikes.