Hill’s ‘Kids First Act’ prioritizes education as state budget grows

Sen. Andy Hill on March 7 unveiled the “Kids First Act,” which would require two-thirds of state revenue growth to be devoted to education over the next 10 years. The plan would enable the Legislature to continue prioritizing education building on the progress from 2013 when new revenue went 4-to-1 to education over non-education. Last year’s breakthrough was a departure from the 2-to-1 ratio against education spending over the previous 30 years.

“For too long, lawmakers in Olympia put growth of government over students placing Washington’s education system in the position it is today,” said Hill (45th Legislative District), of Redmond, who serves as chairman of the Senate Ways and Means Committee. “I came to Olympia to restore balance. This plan is a common sense way to address our education funding issues without overly constricting other important areas where taxpayers may want additional services.”

Under the measure projected revenue for the state’s two-year budget cycles could only be used if two-thirds went toward education purposes, which includes early learning, K-12 and higher education.

“As a budget writer and an education advocate, I’ve heard very clearly from parents, teachers and the state Supreme Court that we must improve funding for student learning,” continued Hill. “As an elected official, taxpayers have made it clear they want state government to live within its means, just the way they do with their family finances. Given those messages this plan would help do both in order to support our children and create sustainable budgets that prioritize education.”

The bill received a public hearing in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on March 10.


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