Today, Gov. Jay Inslee signed SB 5313 into law, permitting your local school district to increase property taxes by another $1 per $1,000 of assessed property value.
Recall that the state already increased your property taxes to fund education including teacher salaries. This new tax is an increase of between $355 and $590 million in addition to other tax increases adopted this year.
The long game WEA started playing a few years ago has paid off. Under the rules it plays by, the union gets two property tax increases to fund employee raises while families’ school services are essentially unchanged or worse than before. Many districts are laying off teachers to increase class sizes, cutting levy-funded services and diverting funds from student materials to the union contract.
WEA works to increase the portion of education funding earmarked for salary and benefits of members even if it means districts must cut other services. WEA also seeks any other tax increase possible to fund that agenda even if it results in taxing the poor to give raises to those earning already-comfortable wages.
Beginning last spring, WEA pushed a deception that all new education funding was for educator raises and camouflaged the reality that levy-funded salary enhancement was ending. Union leaders bludgeoned districts into handing out large, unsustainable raises.
WEA then advocated a second property tax increase to bail out over-burdened districts.
As you have school board candidates seeking your vote, be sure to ask them if they support increasing property taxes to fund raises for some school employees.
One silver lining is the laws districts ignored when giving unfunded raises will continue to be enforced, and the state auditor is permitted to reduce property tax levies for districts that illegally use enrichment levy money on union-sought extra raises.
Whether these provisions will actually be interpreted to end WEA’s ability to cannibalize services remains to be seen. The burden to enforce rests with Superintendent of Public Instruction Chris Reykdal and State Auditor Patrice McCarthy — both of whom owe their offices to union donations to their election campaigns.
Jami Lund: Schools Don’t Need Another Property Tax Hike, Spokesman Review, March 7, 2019