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Raise Taxes, Cut Government? Education Funding Fight Begins

OLYMPIA (AP) — The battle over finding billions of additional dollars to pay for K-12 education in Washington pits Democrats who want to raise taxes against Republicans who prefer cutting other areas of government.

The challenges facing lawmakers were on stark display Thursday, with Democrats sharply criticizing the GOP at a legislative forum for not coming up with a specific education funding plan and Republicans countering they need more information to bring their caucus members to come up with a viable proposal.

Lawmakers this year must find billions in new funding to fund education in order comply with a state Supreme Court ruling. The Legislature has already put more than $2 billion toward the issue since the 2012 ruling, but the biggest piece remaining is figuring out how much the state must provide for teacher salaries.

The Legislature begins Monday.

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