A tax amnesty program has reduced the state's budget shortfall by $321 million, or more than 10 times what was expected.


That's enough to protect K-12 educators from the level of pay cuts in the Senate budget (WEA prefers the House budget level).

According to The Olympian, "The governor told reporters at the Capitol that the new cash should be used to shrink the $240 million owed to public schools by June 30 that otherwise would be delayed to July 1 under House and Senate budget proposals."

From our local newspaper, The Spokesman Review, "Gregoire suggested to legislative leaders they apply $182 million of the tax windfall to the state’s monthly payment to schools in June, reducing the amount they were planning to shift into July in an accounting maneuver."

The Spokesman followed this story a week later with Spin Control: Tax amnesty a windfall, but where’s the outrage? which provides further food for thought.

In other budget news, superintendents, school boards, principals and classified staff have joined WEA in the fight to protect education funding.

Collectively known as the Paramount Duty Coalition (a reference to the state constitution), the groups sent a letter to legislators urging them to minimize school funding cuts.

The letter reads, in part: "Please maintain the level of K-12 funding included in the House budget. The Paramount Duty Coalition is united in this request. While we believe that neither the House nor the Senate budget levels for K-12 education are adequate, the House level is the less harmful choice."