The 2014 election results are all but certified, so we now have a better idea about the political landscape going into the 2015 legislative session. The second elephant in the room—after McCleary, that is—may be Initiative 1351 (and how we’re going to pay for it), but what the election results reflect, more than anything, is how critical a bipartisan approach will be in the coming legislative session.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate’s majority parties’ holds are slim in their respective chambers, and all parties will need to have a high level of discipline to get very much done during this critical session.
The overarching question, of course, is how we are going to pay for education funding. Initiative 1351 has redefined “basic education,” and the four-year balanced budget legislation requires that the Legislature find funding for McCleary and I-1351 through the next four years—amounting to nearly $7 billion above and beyond current education funding levels.
How do you find that kind of money? Well, the current revenue structure won’t get us there. So, we either need to restructure how revenue (read: taxes) is collected in the state or cut other programs.
If we look to history, we see that legislation with bipartisan support tends to be the strongest and most likely to succeed. (more…)