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Wash. Gov To Candidates For Gov: New Education Tax Needed

Austin Jenkins


OLYMPIA, Wash. – Washington Governor Chris Gregoire has a message for both leading candidates to replace her next year. The state will need to find a new, dedicated source of funding for education. The Democrat made her comments Wednesday at a ceremony to sign a newly rebalanced state budget.

Both Democrat Jay Inslee and Republican Rob McKenna have vowed – if elected - to pump more money into K-12. The two major candidates for governor say the money would come from existing state revenues as the economy recovers and from savings in other parts of government, like healthcare. The Washington Supreme Court recently ruled in a case known as McCleary that the state is not adequately funding basic ed and has set a 2018 deadline. Governor Gregoire – who’s not running for a third term – says to meet that deadline a $1 billion bill is coming due in the next two-year budget cycle.

“We cannot meet our constitutional mandate on K through 12 and the McCleary case, our moral mandate for early learning and our economic mandate for higher education if we are not going to look at new revenue,” Gregoire said.

Gregoire would not say if she will propose what that new source of funding should be before she leaves office next January. The governor made her comments after signing a freshly balanced budget that does not cut education further.

Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network