Fund Education First legislation to receive a public hearing Jan. 31

Public testimony on House Bill 2533 will be taken at 8 a.m. in the House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee

Since 2006, House Republicans have introduced legislation that would require the Legislature pass and the governor sign a budget for K-12 basic education before funding any other state program or agency. This year, House Bill 2533 to do just that will receive a public hearing in Olympia on Tuesday, Jan. 31, at 8 a.m., in the House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee.

Rep. Joel Kretz supports the legislation and hopes community members, including concerned citizens, education advocates, school administrators, teachers parents and students, will share their thoughts on the legislation next week.

“The time for half measures and handwringing about how we fund basic education in this state must stop. I believe education should be funded first in the state budget so we can ensure every child has an equal opportunity for success in the classroom,” said Kretz, who also serves as the deputy leader for the House Republicans. “The governor's budget proposal would cut education by $682 million dollars then she proposed lawmakers roll the dice with a sales tax increase measure on the November ballot with the hope voters will raise their taxes to 'buy back' their kids' education. Holding kids hostage for a tax increase is unconscionable. Our Fund Education First proposal would ensure the first dollar goes to basic education, not the last dime.”

Kretz added that in tough budget times, a Fund Education First policy would ensure education funding is not drawn down equally with other state programs and agencies.

“The McCleary case confirms what we already know: Education is the paramount duty of the state,” said Kretz, R-Wauconda. “However, budget writers have been putting basic education dollars in the wash with every other dollar. The end result has been cuts to education and increases budgets for state agencies like the Department of Ecology. I believe we can fully fund basic education first, protect public safety and fund services for our most vulnerable citizens without raising taxes.”

Kretz has heard from opponents of the Fund Education First legislation that, if signed into law, it would change the budgeting process in a way that pits economically-challenged citizens who are reliant on state government services against children.

“I firmly believe that a quality education is the best way to lift people out of poverty. A solid education is better than any government program and is the best way to create adults that contribute their talents to society and pay taxes to fund schools for the next generation of students,” Kretz said. “I hope folks come out in force to voice their opinions on this important issue.”

Constituents who are unable to attend the public hearing can send their written comments on House Bill 2533 to Kretz at joel.kretz@leg.wa.gov. Constituents can access the roster of legislators on the House Education Appropriations and Oversight Committee online at http://www.leg.wa.gov/House/Committees/APPE/Pages/MembersStaff.aspx.

For more information, contact Bobbi Cussins, Public Information Officer: (360) 786-7252

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov