Members of the Washington State Senate say they have found a way to fund basic education without raising taxes. And with just five days left in the 2013 legislative session - it may be in just the nick of time. “One of the things that they did is say we were not recognizing our first and highest priority, and the question was…what will the Legislature do to change its behavior to get a better outcome for our kids and for our students. This bill goes a long ways to achieving that.” Puyallup Senator Bruce Dammeier of the majority coalition caucus is talking about last year’s Washington State Supreme Court decision known as McCleary.

It essentially said that the legislature was not doing enough to meet it is constitutionally-mandated responsibility to provide for basic education. As a result, education funding has been a top priority of the 2013 legislative session, and the majority coalition says it is found a way to fix it.

Redmond Senator Andy Hill, another MCC member, is the Senate’s Chief Budget writer and Chair of the Ways and Means Committee.

He says, despite cries for more revenue from across the aisle, it is time the state took a thoughtful look at the money it is already spending.

“This is a big idea. Instead of raising taxes, we live within our means but we change the way we spend the money; we change what our priorities are, and the constitution is very clear…the paramount duty of the state is to provide an ample education for every child.”

Hill added that after three biennial - a total of six years from now - the state will have three-and-a-half billion dollars dedicated strictly to education without new taxes.