Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Is It That the Seattle Times Doesn't Understand About the Word "Swap"?

Posted by on Sat, Nov 10, 2012 at 10:16 AM

Dom has already remarked on the shameless hubris of the Seattle Times editorial board lecturing Governor-Elect Jay Inslee on how to do his job, after spending the last year and a half campaigning against him. (And yes, "campaigning" is the appropriate word.) But what really galls me about this editorial is the absolute and utter stupidity of once again repeating this obviously false claim:

The court’s McCleary decision implies state spending for schools needs to increase by a minimum of $1 billion a year. The one idea that starts to tackle this challenge without a billion-dollar tax increase is a bipartisan proposal, called a property-tax levy swap...

How many times do I have to explain this? The levy swap provides no additional K-12 spending. It merely replaces local levy dollars with state levy dollars, an effect that should be obvious to any thoughtful reader simply by the use of the word "swap." Yes, it does increase state spending for schools, but only by decreasing local school spending by an equal amount. This proposal might address some of the equity concerns expressed in the McCleary decision, but as a funding tool it is little more than an accounting trick.

Furthermore, while the levy swap is largely revenue neutral across the state as a whole, it substantially raises property taxes in Seattle, Bellevue, Renton, Mercer Island and throughout the Seattle Times' distribution area, while providing zero additional dollars for our local schools. This is a swap not just of local levy dollars for state levy dollars, but of rural (i.e. Republican) levy dollars for urban and suburban (Democratic) levy dollars. In fact, the levy swap would actually erode K-12 funding over time for districts like Seattle.

Unlike the Seattle Times, I've shown my math and cited my sources. Click through the links. It's irrefutable.

In fact, the whole premise of this editorial—that we can spend billions more on pre-K-12 and higher education without raising taxes—is math-free magical thinking. If the editors have billions of dollars in offsetting spending cuts to propose, well, that at least might add substance to the public debate. But this relentless something-for-nothing agenda they advocate is nothing short of irresponsible.

The campaign is over. The voters have spoken. The Seattle Times lost. That they welcome Jay Inslee to the governor's mansion with an editorial that denies the reality of basic math, doesn't suggest that they intend to give his administration much of a fair shake.


Comments (13) RSS

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monkey 1
Seriously though, what is this "Seattle Times" you keep talking about?
Posted by monkey on November 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM · Report this
Keister Button 2
As you are keen to mention the Seattle Times today, why not be generous and give links to the beleaguered, out-of-touch newspaper's comment pages with the most schadenfreude-laden quips from readers?
Posted by Keister Button on November 10, 2012 at 10:37 AM · Report this
Dr_Awesome 3
Question about the swap: Since it transfers local spending to State levies, is there an assumption by the Times/McKenna crowd that new local levies will then also be applied, thus increasing total spending?
Posted by Dr_Awesome on November 10, 2012 at 10:48 AM · Report this
Of course the Times wants us to believe there is money in this shell game. The Blethems are scared to death their tax breaks might go away if the state gets serious about living up to the McCleary decision!
Posted by 1971 on November 10, 2012 at 10:50 AM · Report this
Goldy 5
@3 No. The swap halves the cap on local levies. So for districts that are already above 50 percent of their total cap (as most districts are), there's no room after the swap to raise additional local levy dollars.
Posted by Goldy on November 10, 2012 at 11:01 AM · Report this
Keep shinin' that bright light on the Seattle Times' dark and dangerous corners, Goldy et al!

If we were to package all its dysfunctional thinking errors into a DSM IV diagnosis, we would have a profile worthy of lifetime civil commitment to protect the public good.
Posted by Fizgig on November 10, 2012 at 11:08 AM · Report this
Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn 8
I'm starting to tire of Republican math. It was funny to mock them for it during the election but it's getting repetitive.

Is it because they still don't accept that they lost?
Posted by Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn on November 10, 2012 at 11:28 AM · Report this
MacCrocodile 9
Did somebody say "swap"? I think I like where this paper is going with... oh. Taxes? Never mind.
Posted by MacCrocodile on November 10, 2012 at 11:58 AM · Report this
Pope Peabrain 10
I think the Times should swap names to The Shrinking Relevance and Credibility Times.
Posted by Pope Peabrain on November 10, 2012 at 12:21 PM · Report this
ScrawnyKayaker 12
"In fact, the levy swap would actually erode K-12 funding over time for districts like Seattle."

Like they don't know this! To the neo-liberal shit-heads at the Tines (corporate motto: "sticking a fork in Seattle since wheneverthefuck") that's not a bug, it's a feature.

By hurting the public schools in the Puget Sound population core, they'll reduce support for real public education and increase enthusiasm for union busting and privatization via charter schools, exactly as desired by the billiionaire finger-puppet orgs like TFA, LEV, Stand ON Children, Broad Foundation, Gates Foundation, etc.
Posted by ScrawnyKayaker on November 10, 2012 at 12:42 PM · Report this
Rujax! 13
You mean Inslee should break his 'no new taxes' pledge? It's the only reason he won if you look at the astounding victory won on 1185.
Posted by Sugartit on November 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM


Fuck you asshole.
Posted by Rujax! on November 10, 2012 at 3:30 PM · Report this
Will in Seattle 14
Does anyone still subscribe to that rag that lives in Seattle, who doesn't read it mostly for the obituaries?
Posted by Will in Seattle on November 10, 2012 at 9:07 PM · Report this
tunanator 15
Quit demeaning all the folks who know the real power of true magic. It's not "magical thinking", it's IDIOCRACY.
Posted by tunanator on November 10, 2012 at 10:53 PM · Report this

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