May 20, 2015
How much to they want?
Education News
by Ron Hebron, 12:15 PM
The Washington Education Association is demanding more money in the state budget - and going on strike for it - every day in a different school district. But they never say how much. How much is enough?
Briefly, the current budgets being considered in Olympia add a LOT of money to k-12 education:
"All three budget proposals for 2015-17 -- by Gov. Jay Inslee, the Democratic-led House and Republican-led Senate -- give teachers an overdue cost-of-living raise. All three reduce class sizes for grades K-3. All three drop at least $1.3 billion more into basic education funding to comply with the state Supreme Court's landmark McCleary decision." - Seattle Times
$1.3 billion is real money to me. How much are they asking for?
Second, these strikes are illegal. Is the WEA telling teachers they are being asked to break well established state law? Not the few I talked to.  See Sound Politics.
Third, consequences: Why can teachers walk off the job and not lose one penny of pay? They have no consequences for breaking the law.
But you and I are not so blessed. If I did a taxpayer strike and didn't pay my property taxes the county would seize our house, sell it and give us a pittance. A strike by me would have huge consequences. (If I only went out for one day the cost would be less than $100; not a lot, you may say, but it's cash out of my pocket. 
In 2015 when I pay my property taxes on our suburban split-level I am paying over $2,000 to the local school district. $2,000 is real money to me. How much do they expect me to pay? 

(We have no kids in school; our youngest child graduated years ago.)

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May 19, 2015
Teacher strikes are illegal
Education News
by Ron Hebron, 12:49 PM

Day by day the teachers in a school district are walking off the job on strike. For only one day, but on strike nevertheless. But strikes by public employees are illegal.

Strikes are illegal, but there are no consequences. If I went on strike I would have lost a day's pay for each cay, but the teachers - no.

Freedom Foundation says it succinctly:

  • The law which authorizes collective bargaining for teachers specifically provides that, "Nothing contained in this chapter shall permit or grant any public employee the right to strike or refuse to perform his or her official duties" (RCW 41.56.120).
  • In 2006, the State Attorney General's Office issued an opinion on the legality of public employee strikes, concluding that: "In Washington, state and local public employees do not have a legally protected right to strike.  No such right existed at common law, and none has been granted by statute." See AGO 2006 No. 3
  • The website for the State Office of Financial Management bluntly notes that state employees "are not permitted or granted the right to strike or refuse to perform their official duties."

Furthermore, Washington Courts have a long history of declaring teacher strikes illegal and ordering educators to return to work, in some cases fining teachers who refused.

  • 2011: Tacoma teachers strike. Pierce County Superior Court Judge Bryan Chuschcoff ordered teachers to return to work and threatened to fine them if they failed to comply.
  • 2009: Kent teachers strike. King County Superior Court Judge Andrea Darvas issued an injunction to end the strike. The strike continued until Darvas threatened to begin fining teachers and union officials. [Link no longer works.]
  • 2003: Marysville teachers strike. Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Linda Krese orders the strike to end, noting that "Public employee strikes are illegal under the common law of Washington. The [Marysville Education Association] strike violates the prohibition on public-employee strikes and is an illegal strike."
  • 2002: Issaquah teachers strike. King County Superior Court Judge Joan Dubuque declares the strike illegal and threatens to fine teachers who continue to strike.
  • Prior to 2002, state courts issued 24 injunctions against striking teachers.

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Democrats are laying a "tax trap" for Republicans in Olympia -- we need to tell Republicans not to fall for it
Washington Legislature News
by Tim Eyman, 10:57 AM

In the 2013 and 2014 legislative sessions, Republican state senators and Republican house members blocked the Democrats' numerous tax proposals. Last November, voters rewarded them for protecting taxpayers by giving the GOP more seats in both the House and Senate. In 2016, the Republicans are just 3 seats away from taking control of the state house and maintaining or increasing their existing control of the state senate.

Worst of all for the Democrats, in 2012, Jay Inslee ran for governor repeatedly and emphatically promising to veto tax increases and within 24 hours of taking office, he became the biggest cheerleader for tax hikes our state has ever had. He is extremely vulnerable to losing his governorship in 2016 based solely on that.

What the Democrats desperately need is political cover from the Republicans.

And so the Democrats are laying a "tax trap" for the Republicans this legislative session. That's why they're proposing so many tax increases this session:

A new capital gains tax (House Bill 1484). Cost: $8.4 billion.

Inslee's "cap and tax" bill (Substitute House Bill 1314): Cost: $14.1 billion.

A new state income tax (Senate Bill 6114). Cost: $69.7 billion.

The property tax "levy swap" (Senate Bill 6109). Cost: $15 billion.

5-fold increase in property tax increases (HB 2255). Cost: $2 billion.

The House's transportation tax package (gas taxes, car tab taxes): Cost: $15 billion statewide, additional $15 billion in the Puget Sound.

The Senate's transportation tax package (gas taxes, car tab taxes): Cost: $15 billion statewide, additional $11 billion in the Puget Sound.

If they can get them to vote for tax increases -- any tax increases -- they can neutralize the tax issue in 2016. "Don't blame us, both parties raised your taxes" they will say. Which means no more Republican gains in the state house, a loss of control in the state senate, and a reelected Democrat governor.

Below are the email addresses for Republican legislators (both Senate and House).

Send them an email, preferably RIGHT NOW. Write something like this (feel free to add more, tell 'em how you feel): "Don't fall for the Democrats' tax trap. If any of you vote for tax increases -- any tax increases -- you'll be doing exactly what Democrats want and Inslee needs: giving them political cover for their tax hiking agenda. In 2013 and 2014, you were the we're-not-gonna-to-raise-your-taxes Party. The voters rewarded you, giving you more seats in the state house and state senate. If any of you vote to raise taxes this session, you guarantee Inslee's reelection and taxpayers will suffer. Voters don't want taxes raised on anyone. Don't fall for the Democrats' tax trap."

Cut and paste the following email addresses into the "To" line (if you have trouble, send me your email and I'll forward it to legislators):;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;

Your emails are important. But really, the only effective way to fight back against this tax-hiking insanity is by helping us get the 2/3-For-Taxes Constitutional Amendment Initiative on the ballot. Voters clearly need permanent protection from Olympia's insatiable tax appetite.

Success is the only option with the signature drive for I-1366. Please help us make it happen.

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