Schmudget Blog

Statement on Court Ruling in McCleary Case

Posted by bens at Sep 11, 2014 09:42 PM |

In response to today’s Supreme Court ruling in the McCleary case, executive director Remy Trupin issued the following statement:

With today’s ruling, attention now turns to the upcoming legislative session, one of the most important in recent memory.

The State legislature has been held in contempt for the first time in its history and the Court made clear that failure to pass a budget and plan for achieving full funding of basic education by 2018 will result in sanctions or other remedial measures. The message to lawmakers is this: act in 2015 or face a Court that has just issued its last warning.

As our amicus filing articulated, there is no responsible way to meet the funding requirements of McCleary without raising new revenue. We were encouraged that Justice Johnson referenced our brief during the contempt hearing on September 3rd, questioning the value of the hundreds of tax breaks on the state’s books when matched against the priority of educating our children.

Closing wasteful tax loopholes is a good place to start. In the coming months, we look forward to working with lawmakers and advocates to advance the full range of revenue solutions needed to ensure prosperity for all our kids.

New Revenue Needed to Deliver Better Education to All Students

Posted by bens at Sep 03, 2014 08:40 PM |

Today, lawyers for the state will go before justices of the Washington Supreme Court in the latest showdown in the McCleary case on education funding. The Court has ordered state lawmakers to defend their lack of progress on meeting the requirements of the ruling, which calls for billions in new funding for K-12 schools by 2018. They face contempt charges and other possible sanctions.

In August, we filed an amicus brief with the State Supreme Court, making the case that new revenue was needed to adequately fund our schools and invest in a host of other services that kids need to succeed inside and outside the classroom. Ahead of the hearing this afternoon, our executive director Remy Trupin released the following statement:

Raising new revenue is the only responsible way to meet the requirements of the McCleary ruling.
At its core, the McCleary decision is about ensuring that all our kids get a world-class education, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, or the zip code they call home.  That requires stronger financial support for K-12 schools, better pay for teachers, and investments in early learning, child care, health care, affordable housing and other services that kids and families need to thrive.
Proposals to fund education without additional revenue are a bad deal for kids and our state.  Following this path would undermine the promise of McCleary by forcing deep cuts in many of the services and supports crucial to influencing success in the classroom, particularly for low-income students and students of color.
Lawmakers can and should meet the requirements of McCleary and invest in other services that kids need to be successful by raising revenue. If they are serious about creating a brighter future for all of our kids, it’s the only way.”


The arguments in today's hearing and the ruling to follow will set the tone in the debate over education funding and the state budget during the 2015 legislative session.

We'll continue to track the developments in the McCleary case going forward, as it will determine much about the well-being of our children, communities, and economy in the years to come.


Statement on McCleary Order: New Revenue Needed For Better Outcomes for Kids

Posted by bens at Jun 13, 2014 09:30 PM |

Executive Director Remy Trupin issued the following statement the State Supreme Court's recent order:

"Yesterday, the State Supreme Court found that the Legislature has failed, once again, to make meaningful progress toward fully funding education by 2018, as per the “McCleary” ruling.  The inability of the Legislature to adequately act in the wake of McCleary is actually a symptom of a larger problem: we cannot make meaningful progress in our state – on education or anything else – until we raise new revenue.   

Providing a quality basic education is the paramount duty of our state, but children need more than just K-12 to thrive.  Early learning, higher education, environmental protections, health and human services, and transportation are all critical to a strong foundation of opportunity for all our residents and a strong economy.  

Some have suggested that we must fund education first without new revenue but the math simply doesn't pencil out. Current revenues are projected to fall short of the amount needed to maintain existing levels of education and other public investments, let alone the $4.5 billion additional needed to meet McCleary and $1 billion more per year for teacher compensation.

After years of deep cuts that have diminished opportunities for kids and hurt our economy, it’s time for policymakers to take a hard look at fixing Washington’s state’s outdated and inequitable tax system. Closing wasteful tax breaks and taxing windfall profits from the sale of corporate stocks and other high-end financial assets, as 42 other states do, would be a good start.

It’s time to face reality.  The solutions are there, we just need the political will. Hopefully the Court’s actions will spur the Legislature to act. Kids can’t afford any more delays.


Governor Inslee to Sign Dream Act Today

Posted by bens at Feb 26, 2014 01:35 PM |
Filed under: State Budget, Education, Equity

By Elena Hernandez -- Today Governor Inslee will sign the Washington State Dream Act into law- an important step towards increasing access to higher education for all Washingtonians.   

Under the Dream Act, undocumented youth (Dreamers) that graduate from Washington state high schools will qualify for the State Need Grant – our state’s need-based grant aid program.  Washington state becomes only the fourth state in the nation to implement such a law, and it is an important step in ensuring that our state has the highly skilled workforce needed to compete in today’s economy.  

Our recent policy brief, The Washington State Dream Act: An Investment for all Washingtonians, finds that everyone in our state benefits when higher education is more attainable.  Highlights include:

Increased Earnings. Higher education helps ensure that Washingtonians can meet their basic needs and achieve long-term economic security: 

People who receive a bachelor’s degree earn $840,000 more over their     working life than people with only a high school diploma. An associate’s degree yields $300,000 more.

Positive Return to Communities. For Dreamers that receive the State Need Grant the return to the state would far outweigh the costs:

Every $1 invested in Dreamers who graduate from a four-year university would produce a $2 increase in state and local tax dollars; graduating from community and technical college would produce a $4 increase.

Over time, the net return on this investment for the state could be as much as $43,000 per graduate at a four-year university and $22,000 per graduate at a community and technical college.

Addressing the Opportunity Gap. Dreamers are less likely to graduate from high school than their peers, and even amongst those that do graduate, only half (49 percent) of them pursue higher education. Improved access to financial aid not only provides incentive for high school completion, it also improves college enrollment and persistence.

Read the full brief here.  You can also learn more about the legislative history of the Washington State Dream Act and get an in-depth look at our analysis by watching our webinar here, co-hosted with Rich Stolz, Director of OneAmerica.


Governor on Right Track With Call for Minimum Wage Increase, More School Funding

Posted by bens at Jan 14, 2014 09:30 PM |
Filed under: BPC News

Our Executive Director Remy Trupin released the following  statement on Governor Inslee’s State of the State address:  

"Governor Inslee provided a bold vision for a stronger economy by  highlighting the need for a higher minimum wage and additional funding for education by closing wasteful tax breaks. 

Boosting  the minimum wage is a crucial step in  what should be a broad  strategy to reduce income inequality, increase economic opportunity, and rebuild the middle class. Fair pay for hard work is the cornerstone of a strong economy.  For too long, wages and income for Washington state’s workers have stagnated while companies have earned record profits and the stock market has reached record highs.  Even with the highest state minimum wage in the country, a full-time worker supporting a family of three on the minimum wage would be living in poverty.  

Governor Inslee also deserves credit for calling to end wasteful tax breaks and using the money to fund education. The recent order from the State Supreme Court told us what we already know – we must do better when it comes to providing high-quality education to all of our kids.

We look forward to working with the governor and the legislature to make this plan a reality."


Budget Beat is Back With Jordan Schrader of TNT

Posted by bens at Jan 10, 2014 05:00 PM |
Filed under: Budget Beat

Join us for the first Budget Beat call of the 2014 legislative session on Friday, January 17th, from noon to 12:30 p.m. Jordan Schrader of the Tacoma News Tribune will be on the call to help us preview what to expect this year in Olympia.

Register hereBudget Beat

About Budget Beat

During the legislative session we'll be hosting regular calls to bring you important updates from Olympia, timely policy analysis, and useful resources to keep you informed and help you make an impact. 

On each call we:

  • Provide legislative updates and breaking news from Olympia
  • Highlight a relevant policy issue or legislative proposal
  • Encourage participants to share information, resources and upcoming events

Click here to register for the next Budget Beat call: Friday January 17th, noon to 12:30 p.m.

Check out our Budget Beat page with archives of past calls and additional resources.

Join Us at Budget Matters - It's Not Too Late

Posted by bens at Dec 11, 2013 09:15 PM |
Filed under: Budget Matters

Missed the registration deadline for Budget Matters 2013? Fear not, we're accepting walk-up registrations tomorrow at the event. Join us!

Our second annual policy conference will bring together policy experts, advocates, elected officials, the media, and community members for a day of dynamic conversations and targeted solutions.

When: Thursday, December 12th, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Where: Washington State Convention Center 
               800 Convention Place
               Seattle, WA 98101
               (We'll be on the 6th Floor, look for the signs)

What: Schedule of events and discussion topics and speakers below

Cost: Tickets are $90 per person. Registration fees include breakfast, lunch, and all plenary and panel discussions.   

Schedule of events

Registration and breakfast (8:30 to 9:15 a.m.)

Welcome, B & PC Executive Director Remy Trupin (9:15 to 9:30 a.m.)

Opening Plenary (9:30 to 10:15 a.m.)

Heather C. McGhee

Heather McGhee is Vice President of Policy and Outreach at Demos.   She is a frequent writer, speaker and media commentator on issues of democracy reform, economic opportunity, racial equity and financial regulation.  In 2010, she became a contributor to Countdown with Keith Olbermann. She is also a regular guest on MSNBC, Fox News, and CNN.

Read more about Heather here.

Breakout Sessions - Choose One (10:30 to 11:45 a.m.)

A). Building an Equitable Revenue System

Washington state has the most backward revenue system in the country. We rely too much on working and middle class families to fund our shared investments in education, health and public safety, and don’t ask enough from those most able to pay. The system makes rising income inequality worse and in recent years has led to deep budget cuts that have disproportionately impacted low income families and communities of color.  We will examine how reforms to our revenue system can help reverse income inequality and build a more prosperous state for all Washingtonians.

  • Marcy Bowers, Statewide Poverty Action Network
  • Rep. Luis Moscoso
  • Andy Nicholas, Sr. Fiscal Analyst, B & PC

B). Effective Messaging: Fight Back Against Anti- Tax and Anti-Government Rhetoric

Tired of losing debates about government and taxes?  Come learn how to strategically and effectively message around the unique role of government in our society and the importance of equitable revenue to pay for public investments. Hear from communications professionals who incorporate the latest messaging research into their work.

  • Anika Fassia and Patrick Bresette, Public Works
  • Tara Lee, Communications Director, B & PC (moderator)
  • Spencer Olson, Fuse Washington 
  • Maria Speiser, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities

C). Early Learning: Building a High Quality, Inclusive Early Learning System for All Kids

High quality early learning is one of the best investments we can make to optimize children's ability and success, close the opportunity gap, support working parents, and develop our future workforce. Yet, just one percent of the entire education budget in Washington state goes toward early learning. Learn about the progress being made in the early learning movement in Washington state and issues to be aware of this coming legislative session. 

  • Jon Gould, Children's Alliance and B & PC Board member
  • Rep. Ross Hunter
  • Sharonne Navas, Equity in Education Coalition
  • Lori Pfingst, Research Director, B & PC (moderator)
  • Laura Wells, Fight Crime, Invest in Kids

 Lunch Plenary  (11:45 to 1 p.m.)

Jared Bernstein Jared Bernstein

Jared Bernstein is a Senior Fellow at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.  From 2009 to 2011, Bernstein was the Chief Economist and Economic Adviser to Vice President Joe Biden, executive director of the White House Task Force on the Middle Class, and a member of President Obama’s economic team. 

Prior to joining the Obama administration, Bernstein was a senior economist and the director of the Living Standards Program at the Economic Policy Institute in Washington, D.C. Read more about Jared here.

Breakout Sessions - Choose One (1:15 to 2:30 p.m.)

A).  Media Perspectives: The 2014 Legislative Session and Beyond

Reporters, columnists, and editorial board writers bring a unique perspective on issues that impact our state. We will ask them to share their thoughts and insight on a variety of issues. As the legislature struggles to fully fund basic education, how will they prioritize other issues? How can we make sure that all children have what they have to be successful? How can we grow our economy and create living wage jobs?

  • Enrique Cerna, KCTS (moderator)
  • Joel Connelly, Seattle PI
  • Jordan Schrader, Tacoma News Tribune
  • Lynne Varner, Seattle Times

B). Middle-out and All-in: Better Jobs for a Better Washington State

Hard work is strongly valued in our society, and workers in the U.S. and Washington state remain the most productive in the world. Yet, hard work no longer ensures the ability to meet basic needs or become fully rooted in the middle class. Today, not only are there not enough jobs to go around, but those jobs do not pay enough for families to meet basic needs and get ahead. Come learn about investments we can make to improve wages and employment for workers and grow a strong economy.

  • Amanda Ballyntyne, Main Street Alliance
  • Lori Pfingst, Research Director, B & PC (moderator)
  • Rich Stolz, OneAmerica and B & PC Board member

C). Creating a Sustainable Environment for All

A good quality of life depends on clean air and water, a safe environment, and sustainable infrastructure. But these assets are not shared equally among all communities in Washington state. We will explore how investments in the environment and smart policies can ensure all Washingtonians benefit from a clean environment and smart economic development regardless of income, race, ethnicity, or geography.

  • April Putney, Futurewise
  • Darcy Nonemacher, Washington Environmental Council (moderator)
  • Miguel Perez-Gibson, Progreso Latino Alliance
  • John Ridgeway, Department of Ecology

Closing Plenary (2:30 to 3 p.m.)

Governor Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee

Governor Inslee is a fifth-generation Washingtonian, who grew up in the Seattle area. As a member of Congress, he served the Yakima Valley from 1992 to 1994, and then moved to the Puget Sound region where he was elected back to Congress in 1998, where he served until his election to Governor in 2012.

Read more about Governor Inslee here.

Thank you to our sponsors! We couldn't do this without your support.



SEIU    Campion   


  PLG    WFA


Washington State Nurses Association

Urban Press

Sprague Israel Giles Inc.


Budget Matters 2013 is an event you won't want to miss. Click here to register today.


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Thank you for attending Budget Matters

Our Budget Matters 2018 policy conference took place on November 13 at Seattle Center. john a. powell from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society and Gov. Jay Inslee were the keynotes. Watch their presentations and other presentations from the conference on TVW.  

Our policy priorities

Washington state should be a place where all our residents have strong communities, great schools, and the chance for a bright future. Our 2017-2019 Legislative Agenda outlines the priorities we are working to advance.

Testimonies in Olympia

Misha TVW
Watch our 2018 legislative session testimonies on TVW: