Today I filled out the Association of Washington Businesses candidate questionnaire. These questions came from that survey. I want to share my responses with you so that you can understand my positions and ideas for improving the business environment on the Eastside. — Brendan

Education

With lawmakers challenged by the Washington State Supreme Court to establish education
funding in excess of $2-3 billion dollars to meet their constitutional duty and fully fund basic
education, what solutions do you suggestion for resolving the funding shortfall?

I believe that more money is not the only answer; we should empower school principals to manage more of their personnel and budgets. Although this is not a direct response to your question, it is consistent with the McCleary ruling which calls for improvements to the State’s education system, generally.

The Supreme Court does not make budgets, that is for the legislature. However, there is a chance that the court will hold the legislature in contempt if it does not send more dollars to education. But is funding the fundamental problem with our state’s education system? Washington education spending per student is about $11,400/year per year (near the national median), but we do not get results that the supreme court considers “ample.”

Perhaps, there is a structural problem with the way we do education and more money is not the silver bullet. Instead of approaching this problem with creative ways to tax citizens more, we should look for creative ways to make education work better. I am further concerned about the way that the legislature has allowed State colleges and universities to set their tuition, and thereby raise it without holding democrat legislators to blame.

 

Transportation

Do you support additional revenue to fund transportation infrastructure in Washington?
What transportation reforms, if any, should be included in a new revenue package?

Yes, if the source is tied directly to the project end-users; for instance gas tax paid by drivers to fund construction of roads. If we are going to enact Reforms, they should reorient our transportation infrastructure to serve vehicles (cars) since this infrastructure has been lagging, especially in my district and the eastside.

 

Environment

What is Washington’s top environmental challenge, and how would you address it?

The health of Puget Sound and its tributaries. This is an enormous environmental asset to our region and it should be conserved as such. Many of the tributaries suffer from poor surface water management and I believe market systems can be used to help promote development and preservation in the future. What has been done at a federal level in the Chesapeake
bay restoration can be used as a model for our state.