Class size Initiative 1351 hides costs, consequences

My column today compares and contrasts Tim Eyman’s Initiative 1325 with the Washington Education Association’s Initiative 1351. The former failed to qualify for the November ballot; the latter apparently did.

Eyman’s sales tax reduction would have cost the state about $2 billion over the two-year budget cycle without specifying what programs and services would be cut. I-1351 would mandate increased spending of more than $3.4 billion a biennium without identifying a funding source or telling voters what would be cut to accommodate the new spending.

The mandated new spending comes on top of substantial budget challenges to be faced by the 2015 Legislature.

With I-1351, spending commitments over the next four years exceed current revenue projections by more than $4 billion. There’s no appetite for a tax increase of that magnitude, no secret revenue trove to be tapped, no magic loopholes to be closed. Absent the WEA-backed initiative, the state has a budget problem. With it, we have a budget crisis.

There’s some speculation that forcing a crisis is the point, that passing the initiative would force lawmakers to adopt new taxing authorities, including an income tax.

Please read the whole thing. Then, take a look at this provocative take on the changing politics surrounding teachers’ unions.