NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

Washington State House of Representatives sends revised “levy cliff” rescue bill to Inslee

Leg­is­la­tion that would res­cue school dis­tricts in Wash­ing­ton State from the so-called “levy cliff” is on its way to Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee fol­low­ing an over­whelm­ing vote of approval in the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

By a vote of eighty-sev­en to ten, the House vot­ed to give its assent to Engrossed Sen­ate Bill 5023, orig­i­nal­ly spon­sored by Sen­a­tor Lisa Well­man (D‑41st Dis­trict: Mer­cer Island, Belle­vue, Sam­mamish, Issaquah). ESB 5023 cleared the Sen­ate last night in a near unan­i­mous vote after dif­fi­cult nego­ti­a­tions between Sen­ate Repub­li­cans and Sen­ate Democ­rats were suc­cess­ful­ly con­clud­ed.

The Sen­ate offi­cial­ly sum­ma­rized the bill as fol­lows:

  • Delays for one year changes to the for­mu­las for cal­cu­lat­ing school dis­trict max­i­mum main­te­nance and oper­a­tion levy author­i­ty, and cor­re­spond­ing local effort assis­tance.
  • Requires local levy rev­enue to be deposit­ed in to a sep­a­rate sub-fund begin­ning in cal­en­dar year 2018.
  • Pro­vides that the Office of the Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion must approve the use of main­te­nance and oper­a­tion levy pro­ceeds pri­or to a levy propo­si­tion elec­tion.

The House­’s offi­cial sum­ma­ry was a bit more detailed:

  • Delays for one year changes to the for­mu­las for cal­cu­lat­ing school dis­tricts’ max­i­mum main­te­nance and oper­a­tion levy author­i­ty, and cor­re­spond­ing local effort assis­tance.
  • Requires dis­tricts to sub­mit a report to the Office of the Super­in­ten­dent of Pub­lic Instruc­tion detail­ing the pro­grams and activ­i­ties to be sup­port­ed by a main­te­nance and oper­a­tion levy, pri­or to sub­mit­tal to the vot­ers for approval.
  • Declares that enrich­ment beyond the state-pro­vid­ed fund­ing in the omnibus appro­pri­a­tions act for the basic edu­ca­tion pro­gram com­po­nents under basic edu­ca­tion fund­ing statute s is a per­mit­ted use of main­te­nance and oper­a­tion levies.
  • Requires school dis­tricts to estab­lish a sep­a­rate sub-fund for levy rev­enues.

ESB 5023 is sim­i­lar to HB 1059, which the House passed back in Jan­u­ary, but which has lan­guished in the Sen­ate ever since. ESB 5023 was passed with­out hear­ings in either house, although HB 1059 received a hear­ing on Jan­u­ary 11th.

The roll call was as fol­lows:

Roll Call
ESB 5023
Schools/excess levies
Final Pas­sage
3/9/2017

Yeas: 87, Nays: 10, Excused: 1

Vot­ing Yea: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Apple­ton, Barkis, Bergquist, Blake, Buys, Caldier, Chap­man, Clib­born, Cody, DeBolt, Dent, Doglio, Dolan, Far­rell, Fey, Fitzgib­bon, Frame, Good­man, Graves, Gregerson, Grif­fey, Haler, Hansen, Har­grove, Harmsworth, Har­ris, Hayes, Holy, Hud­gins, Irwin, Jenkin, Jink­ins, Kagi, Kil­duff, Kir­by, Klip­pert, Klo­ba, Koster, Kraft, Kretz, Lovick, Lyt­ton, MacEwen, Macri, Man­weller, May­cum­ber, McBride, McCabe, McDon­ald, Mor­ris, Muri, Nealey, Orms­by, Ortiz-Self, Orwall, Pel­lic­ciot­ti, Peter­son, Pet­ti­grew, Pol­let, Reeves, Ric­cel­li, Robin­son, Rodne, Ryu, San­tos, Sawyer, Sells, Senn, Slat­ter, Smith, Springer, Stam­baugh, Stan­ford, Steele, Stokes­bary, Stonier, Sul­li­van, Tar­leton, Tharinger, Van Wer­ven, Vick, Volz, Walsh, J., Wilcox, Wylie, Young, Chopp

Vot­ing Nay: Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Chan­dler, Con­dot­ta, Dye, Kris­tiansen, McCaslin, Orcutt, Pike, Schmick, Shea, Tay­lor

Excused: Rep­re­sen­ta­tive John­son

Democ­rats vot­ed unan­i­mous­ly in sup­port of the bill and were joined by thir­ty-sev­en Repub­li­cans. Ten Repub­li­cans refused to lend their sup­port.

Gov­er­nor Inslee is expect­ed to sign ESB 5023 in due course.

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