In the U.S., we have an unspoken contract that each generation pays for the next generation’s education. We know that a thriving community requires an educated workforce. But here in Washington state, we are breaking that contract. We should have one of the best education systems in the country.
Unfortunately, we don’t. The state ranks 38 out of 51 on per pupil spending and 47 of 51 on competitive teacher compensation. In some districts, local levies make up the difference. But our state Supreme Court has made it abundantly clear that relying on local levies is unacceptable and that the state is failing to meet its constitutional obligation to fully fund basic education. Now is the time to change that.
The lawmakers in Olympia can ensure Washington has great schools and strong communities by investing in education — but not at the expense of other services that provide a safety net to vulnerable families. Instead, I believe they should clean up our upside-down tax code by eliminating wasteful tax breaks, including the tax break wealthy households get on the sale of stocks and bonds. They should pass a capital gains tax.
I have done well and most likely would have to pay a capital gains tax. But I am willing to do that in order to provide all of our children and youth the excellent education they deserve.