Inslee Calls for $200 Million More for Education, Minimum Wage Increase
Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants lawmakers to add another $200 million to the state's education system this year.
OLYMPIA, WA - Washington Gov. Jay Inslee wants lawmakers to add another $200 million to the state's education system this year.
Inslee said in his "State of the State" address Tuesday that the Legislature needs to do more this year to respond to state Supreme Court demands that the system be more fully funded. Lawmakers did add an extra $1 billion to public schools last year, but Inslee says it is time to do more.
Inslee had initially proposed a spending plan just weeks ago that made minimal spending changes. The Democrat says he's had to rethink that approach now that the Supreme Court says it wants to see more progress on education funding.
In 2012, the high court ruled that the state is not meeting its constitutional obligation concerning education funding. Lawmakers estimate they need to find a total of between $3.5 billion and $4.5 billion more over the coming years to fully pay for basic education.
Gov. Inslee is also calling for a higher minimum wage, even though it is already the highest in the nation.
He says too many parents with full-time jobs are struggling to put food on the table for their families. Inslee didn't propose a specific minimum wage, but suggested it should be somewhere between $10.82 and $11.82 cents an hour.
Washington's minimum wage is currently $9.32 an hour and rises steadily thanks to a voter-approved initiative. In Seattle, local officials have been exploring the possibility of raising the minimum wage there to as high as $15 an hour.