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.