Gov. Jay Inslee announced his plan to fully fund basic education on Tuesday, with a $3.9 billion proposal that would boost K-12 spending to 50 percent of the state budget for the first time in more than 30 years and satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary decision.
“I am proposing a way to fully fund education and to take the next step in providing not simply a basic education, but a great education for all students,” the governor said in a statement issued by his office.
“I know this is a heavy lift for next session, and legislators will come with their own ideas. But this is the year to get this done,” he said.
Under the governor’s plan, the Bainbridge Island School District would see an $8 million increase in state funding, which amounts to roughly $1,700 more per student.
Bainbridge Superintendent Peter Bang-Knudsen could not be reached for comment.
Instead of increasing property taxes — which would actually drop by 19 cents per $1,000 assessed value on the island — Inslee wants to increase the business and occupation tax rate from 1.5 to 2.5 percent.
This move, which would affect attorneys, real estate agents, architects and other professionals, would generate $2.3 billion in the next two years, according to the governor’s office.
Meanwhile, small businesses would be protected through a new, elevated B&O threshold and higher monthly tax credits.
Other funding sources for the plan include a new tax on carbon pollution, which Inslee’s office says would generate $1.9 billion in the next biennium, and a 7.9 percent capital gains tax on the sale of stocks, bonds and other assets, estimated to raise $821 million in the 2019 fiscal year.
A final initiative would close or change five tax exemptions, including the sales tax exemption for bottled water and the sales tax exemption for vehicle trades-in, in order to generate $300 million.
The entire proposal can be reviewed at www.ofm.wa.gov/bud get17/highlights/201719_policy brief_Education.pdf.