Tomorrow is the annual Associated Press Legislative Preview Forum, where legislative leaders from both parties will provide insight into their priorities for the session which starts next Monday. And if the past is any guide, Democrat leaders will repeat one of their favorite lies from recent years – that the state doesn’t generate enough tax revenue to meet its public school funding obligations.
Liberal politicians from Jay Inslee to Frank Chopp to Sharon Nelson will complain that the state has to raise taxes because our sales-tax reliant system is not doing its job. They want to use this year to set the stage for raising those taxes in next year’s session, as Inslee did last month on TVW.
The truth is the victim of the elected officials on the Left, who need to seek tax increases to fund a bigger state government and keep the special interest groups which fund their campaigns happy. And the truth is that state tax revenue is up by $2.6 billion in the current two-year budget cycle, and expected to grow by $2 billion more.
What’s also true is that raising taxes is not needed to fund public education. If the Democrats who have controlled Olympia for the last generation were doing their constitutionally-mandated job, they would fund education with the first dollar in the budget. That would mean that once the tax money ran out, they would need to make the case that they needed to raise taxes for a somewhat lower priority than “the children” – like pay raises for state employees, or some other liberal priority which would be unlikely to cause taxpayers to voluntarily open their wallets.
And that’s why Democrat leaders from both houses of the legislature and the Governor’s mansion will use tomorrow’s AP forum to again spread the lie that we need higher taxes to pay for our schools – because they know the truth does not make their interest groups happy, and unhappy interest groups write smaller campaign contribution checks.