After both houses of the legislature passed budget bills last week, it became apparent there is little difference between the bi-partisan Senate approach and the Democrat House positioning. All that remains is a little negotiating around the edges before an on-time adjournment next week.
Despite this near-certainty, over the weekend some extreme partisans in the House couldn’t resist a little grandstanding to satisfy their special-interest campaign funders (like the state teachers union).
It didn’t provide near enough’s founders The State Supreme Court’s McCleary decision last year made very public what political observers have known for years – Democrats in the legislature (and Governor’s office) do not believe that funding public education is the state’s top priority, though that’s mandated by the state constitution. Our public schools have been underfunded during the last 30 years of Democrat control of the state budget, an inconvenient fact for a political party that allegedly cares about kids.
The liberals who run the State House have been trying to divert attention from their education failures ever since, and over the weekend proposed putting the McCleary decision into state law – evidently forgetting, as they have so often done in the past, that the public education mandate is in the state constitution already. Further, as part of their “let’s-reward-the-special-interests-that-fund-our-campaigns” approach, the Democrats on the Appropriations Committee said that increased public school funding must always include annual raises for their public employee union buddies.
Explaining why they must pass a new law when school funding is already in the state Constitution, the House Democrats’ number two guy Pat Sullivan said, “I believe we need to put this into a statute so we have a clear path forward.”
Too bad that a generation of liberal Democrats in Olympia don’t recognize that the state constitution already provide a very clear path forward, though it was one that put our schools first, instead of paying off campaign supporters with taxpayer dollars.