46th District Legislative Priorities: Close Tax Loopholes, Support Higher Education

(l to r) State Representative Gerry Pollet (D-46), Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-46), and State Senator David Frockt (D-46).

(l to r) State Representative Gerry Pollet (D-46), Rep. Jessyn Farrell (D-46), and State Senator David Frockt (D-46).

At a town hall meeting on Saturday at North Seattle Community College, state legislators from the 46th District addressed a number of issues but focused on closing tax loopholes and spending more on higher education. State Representative Gerry Pollet, freshman Representative Jessyn Farrell and State Senator David Frockt spoke and answered questions for over two hours to a nearly packed auditorium at the school.
Many attendees were involved with education and heartily supported measures to increase school spending; at least half had lobbied in Olympia on behalf of an issue in the past or contacted a representative. Victory Heights is part of the 46th District which also includes Wedgwood, Lake City, and parts of Shoreline and Lake Forest Park.
With no introductions, Senator Frockt jumped right in with an overview of the current legislative session, now about half way finished, which has focused so far on non-fiscally related policy bills. He pointed out how the Washington State Senate is now in the hands of the Republican party which has vowed not to increase taxes, something which Democratic governor Jay Inslee also campaigned on. There was a lot of talk of funding “McCleary,” which meant something to most of the attendees but sent me to Google to decode this inside-baseball jargon. (It’s the January 2012 State Supreme Court ruling that said the state had failed in its duty to fully-fund education.)
Representative Farrell, a freshman to Olympia (who was later joined by her two young children), spoke of the difficulty in stopping Republicans from cutting anti-poverty and early learning programs during the session, saying, “We’re going to have a hard time holding this line.” She would also like to see King County gain the ability to tax itself (voter approved) in order to better directly support METRO Transit, which is facing a 17% budget cut this year due to lower sales tax revenue.
Representative Pollet was very keen in the current no new taxes environment, of closing the many loopholes in the tax code which do not benefit the state but deprive it of millions in revenue. Specifically the capital gains tax, saying the large multi-national corporations headquartered in Washington could help support higher education and the trained workforce they are begging for if such a tax were in place but they’d prefer someone else get the bill.
When it comes to higher education, all three agreed more needed to be spent, saying that state funding now only accounts for 30% of the revenue for universities (the rest is tuition); they’d like to see the state kicking in half in order to keep tuition costs from rising further.
Among other issues that were addressed were re-funding dental coverage for the poor to keep them from using emergency rooms for care, and the impact of traffic on Highway 522 through Kenmore and Lake Forest Park with the toll on 520 and one impending on I-90.
Victory Heights Community Council member Justin Almeida addressed the issue of pollution in Thornton Creek, which prompted Rep. Pollet to say he had just begun discussion with the Department of Ecology on Thursday about how to clean up the creek.

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One Response to 46th District Legislative Priorities: Close Tax Loopholes, Support Higher Education

  1. Pingback: Legislative Town Hall Meeting November 12th | Victory Heights Blog

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