New taxes not needed to fully fund education

Following today’s release of the House of Representative’s new two-year operating budget proposal, Sen. Andy Hill, chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee issued this statement:

“The House’s reliance on volatile tax increases goes against the state’s paramount constitutional duty to fund education with a reliable and stable revenue source. While increasing state spending by $5 billion the House still puts students last, tying education funding to tax increases. I’m not sure if that’s unconstitutional or just unconscionable.

With the state projected to receive an additional $3 billion in new revenue from economic growth, tax increases should be the last resort, not the first response. Voters have made it clear they want state government to live within its means, not repeatedly ask for more money to go to Olympia.

We received the updated revenue forecast 36 days ago. It’s important to get the budget process moving since we passed this important reform in order to get our work done on time. Those hurt the most by not having a budget done on time are students and teachers, our top budget priority. School districts have to know how much money they’ll receive in order to plan for the next school year.

I look forward to having the House pass a complete budget that actually balances proposed spending with revenue. It would be irresponsible to send a budget to the Senate that does not balance over the next two years much less over the four years required by law. Any additional revenue assumed by their spending plan should be provided through a vote from the House for tax increases.

The past two years, both chambers have come together to pass bipartisan plans that prioritize education, live within the state’s means and protect our most vulnerable citizens. With our two plans we will have a path forward to achieve a final bipartisan plan that puts these priorities first.”