AFT Washington Statement on Senate Budget Proposal

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April 4, 2013

For immediate release

Contacts:   Sandra Schroeder, President, 206-715-1824 (c) or Sylvia Watson, Communications, 206-261-3603 (c)

“Unrealistic, Unsustainable, and Unfair”

AFT Washington Statement on Senate Budget Proposal

The budget proposal the Senate released on Wednesday is unrealistic, unsustainable, and unfair. It’s a mishmash of bad compromises driven by internal political strife in the Senate that will hurt education and vital public services and will damage our state’s economic recovery.

The Senate budget lacks vision and worsens the serious inequities in our state’s tax code by adding even more tax loopholes for special interests like hog fuel and large airplanes instead of providing revenue that would move our state forward economically, as Governor Inslee’s budget proposal does.

This budget makes unrealistic assumptions that don’t add up. For example, it estimates the cost of the highly popular and successful College Bound program at about $32 million when it is nearer $47 million.  Their proposed 3% cut in tuition sounds great, but if the Senate Republican budget goes forward, it will wipe out any other so-called increases in higher education funding. The per student funding for higher education in this state will drop from second to the last (49th) to last place in the nation. Quality and access are suffering at a time when our business community is begging for people with college degrees and certificates.

Their budget is unsustainable. While the Senate attempts to find funding for the McCleary decision to fund basic education, it takes money from other critical services and budgets like the capital budget, and looting the capital budget could also take away private sector construction jobs, hurting our ailing economy further.

Their budget is unfair to working families and others who are struggling to pull themselves out of the downward spiral this recession pushed them into. The very children who struggle in school come from families that need the support. This budget would cut 4,000 low-income working families from the Working Connections Child Care program which helps provide affordable care and a smart start for our youngest, forcing these families to choose between their jobs or not working because they would be unable to afford quality child care.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We urge all fair-minded and fiscally responsible senators to oppose this budget. The Senate budget does not reflect our state’s values.

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AFT Washington represents 6,500 education employees in early learning, K-12, and higher education in Washington State.