Revenue with results: The Grand Bargain?
Republicans often repeat their “reform before revenue” slogan – and we agree with it. But we have moved beyond it: Democrats have already passed major education reforms to support teachers and improve student outcomes – and now is the time to fund them.
Now is the time for revenue with results.
The middle class has already shouldered too much of a burden from cuts to education. The middle class will not bear the burden of paying more to make our schools whole again.
Those who are opportunity-rich and have already prospered will be asked to pay it forward and pay their fair share to help close the opportunity gaps in our schools – which is why I have introduced a bill to impose a 5 percent tax on capital gains.
This additional revenue will be paired with certain performance targets, including increasing third grade reading proficiency to 90 percent at grade level by 2018 and high school graduate completion rate to 90 percent by 2020. These targets must be met over time for continued funding – if they are not, the revenue sunsets.
The top ten percent of earners in Washington captured 86 percent of all capital gains income realized in this state over the past 6 years. In fact, when 7 individuals in Washington have a combined $111 billion to their names, there is enough wealth in this state to help the middle class, get all kids ready for 1st grade, get all kids to meet standards in 3rd grade reading, get all kids to meet standards in 8th grade math, and get all kids to graduate high school.
Economic growth should lead to shared prosperity and not just benefit the already prosperous. Having the wealthy help us to pay to close the opportunity gap in our k-12 system would be a huge step in that direction.
We believe that this proposal (and if not this revenue proposal, a different one) could be the beginning of a discussion around how a Grand Bargain in education might be reached.
Democrats are supportive of current reforms and believe they require new revenue before we discuss additional reforms. Republicans are supportive of additional reforms, and believe that current levels of funding are enough.
If Democrats are open to pursuing additional reforms – and we are – and Republicans are willing to support a revenue solution that will not hit the middle class and that voters will have to approve, then we can move forward the stalled education debate in this state and make significant progress for Washington’s students.