We are just now beginning the budget negotiations phase. The Governor published his proposed budget in December of 2018, the House published their proposed budget March 25th and voted to approve it March 29th, and it is now waiting to be voted on by the Senate. The Senate published their proposed budget March 29th, amended it on April 3rd, and is still waiting for an approval vote as of April 4th. Here’s what we know so far about the budgets.
All budget proposals will be negotiated until a final comprehensive budget is approved by both chambers and signed by the Governor.
For more specific budget details, please visit our ROC page, these are just the highlights.
- Overall proposed CTC budget is $1.704 billion, a 16% increase over the 2017 – 2019 biennium
- Overall state revenue will increase by nearly $4 billion through the following taxation alterations
- Business & Occupation tax on services and other activities will increase to 2.5% (up from 1.5%)
- Capital Gains Tax will be established on sales of stocks, bonds, and other assets with progressive exceptions. Individuals making over $25,000, and joint filers making over $50,000, in these sales will be taxed 9%.
- The Real Estate Excise Tax will be altered from a flat rate to a graduated rate, making it more progressive while also generating new revenue
- For preK-12, this proposed budget includes $24.6 million for four days of required paraeducator training, and $173 million for early learning, to include the Early Childhood Education Assistance Program (ECEAP)
- Overall proposed CTC budget is $1.768 billion, a 20% increase over the 2017 – 2019 biennium
- Overall state revenue will increase through progressive taxation involving a new Capital Gains Tax, Real Estate Excise Tax, and an increase in the Business & Occupation tax on high-earning companies.
- For preK-12, this proposed budget includes $12 million for two days out of the four required for paraeducator training, as well as $23 million for ECEAP expansion, and $14.9 million for an ECEAP rate increase.
- Overall proposed CTC budget is $1.510 billion, a nearly 8% increase over the 2017 – 2019 biennium
- COLAs are included in the overall higher education budget
- Overall state revenue will increase by $518 million in new revenue sourced from:
- Graduated Real Estate Excise Tax, adjusting the Business & Occupation Tax, ending the non-resident sales tax exemption, new plastic bag fees, and taxing vapor and heated tobacco products.
- For preK-12 this proposed budget includes $23 million for four days of paraeducator training, and $53 million for ECEAP expansion and rate increases.
If you want to check out all the budgets in detail, you should head over to this site: http://fiscal.wa.gov/BudgetOBills.aspx.
We have been working for months to get to this point. We started with legislator and candidate meetings over the summer, countless hours of research and bill writing, and a consistent presence in Olympia sharing the same message: [Re]Invest in Our Colleges! We’re now in the crunch time.
The legislative session ends on April 28th; if the Governor decides not to call a special session, that is our timeline to seriously influence the budget negotiations. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been escalating our approach. We had around 50 members show up to Olympia on March 27th to picket and visit with legislators, encouraging them to make a serious investment in the colleges that are responsible for educating 60% of Washington’s higher education students.
Walkouts and Pickets
The week of April 15th will be a week of action across the state. We’re asking that all our locals stage an informational picket in a highly visible location in their districts from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. every day that week or stage a walkout on your campus. If you choose a walkout, you won’t be alone. AFT Seattle Faculty, Local 1789, has voted to have a walkout on April 16th, and are working with AFT Seattle Professional Staff, Local 6550, and the WFSE local on their campuses to make this an inclusive and widespread event. Shoreline College Federation of Teachers, Local 1950, is also going to host a walkout and a teach-in on April 16th, also working in conjunction with other unions on their campus. Several other colleges are organizing to picket in their districts, and AFT Washington staff are out and about helping to prepare for this.
Want more information or to lead this effort at your local? Check in with your local’s executive board, your Organizing Representative, or reach out directly to me, your Political Organizer (firstname.lastname@example.org; 206-427-8107).