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Why Ending Corporate Welfare is Required by the Washington State Constitution
For the past 8 years, I have been trying to convince the Washington legislature to repeal billions in tax breaks for wealthy corporations so we can restore school funding and lower class sizes. More recently, the McCleary Plaintiffs have asked our Supreme Court to declare these tax exemptions to be unconstitutional. The non-profit group, Washington Paramount Duty (WPD) has also filed an Amicus Brief asking our Supreme Court to declare these tax breaks to suspended if the legislature fails to fully fund our schools by July 2017. Our Supreme Court has declared both verbally and in their written orders that this is one of the options they are considering. However, our Attorney General now claims that our Supreme Court does not have the power to repeal these tax breaks. In this report, we will take a close look at the meaning, purpose and history of our State Constitution. This history makes it clear that not only does our Supreme Court have the power to repeal these illegal tax breaks - but that our State Constitution REQUIRES our Supreme Court to repeal these tax breaks! Please share this important report with other parents and teachers.
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It is basic math. We cannot allow our legislature to give away $36 billion per year in tax breaks for wealthy corporations and still have enough money left to fully fund our schools and lower class sizes. This is why in their latest filing to the Supreme Court on June 17 2016, the plaintiffs for the McCleary case specifically asked the Court to declare tax breaks to be unconstitutional. Here is a quote from their brief:

"Plaintiffs continue to believe the most effective options to compel the significant revenue and funding actions needed to comply in that 2017 regular session are the school statute and tax exemption statute options discussed in plaintiffs’ prior filings... have all tax exemption statutes enacted by the legislature (before amply funding K-12 schools) struck down as unconstitutional, effective the first day of the 2017-2018 school year."
http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/PlaintiffsConsolidatedAnswerToJune7AmicusBriefs.pdf


Here is what the State Attorney General claimed in his June 17 2016 response to the Plaintiffs brief: "This argument puts the Court on a slippery slope that slides across constitutional limitations imposed by separation of powers. Under their approach, the Court could reach out to invalidate any statute enacted in 2013, 2014, or 2015 that has any effect on state revenue or spending. As explained in prior briefing, the Court is not constitutionally free to assume the legislative function... The Washington Constitution does not confer on Plaintiffs—or on the Superintendent of Public Instruction, for that matter—the authority to, determine the measure of ample funding under article IX, section 1. It is for the Legislature to determine in the first instance what constitutes "ample provision" for the State's program of basic education."
http://www.courts.wa.gov/content/publicUpload/Supreme%20Court%20News/619aReply_AmResp20160617.pdf

Obviously, the McCleary Plaintiffs and the Attorney General can not both be right. Does our Supreme Court have the power to repeal tax breaks?

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In order to help parents, teachers, other voters (and even our Supreme Court) determine who is right in this debate, we will take a trip down memory lane back to 1889 and the drafting of the Washington state constitution.

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Why is the Washington State Constitution Different from Every Other Constitution in the Nation?
What is important to understand is that the Washington State Constitution is radically different from the Constitutions of every other state in the nation. There are at least 8 major differences between the Washington State Constitution and most other state constitutions. Here are some of those differences.

#1 The Washington State Constitution has no Separation of Powers Clause.

#2 A section specifically prohibiting the legislature from enacting special laws that would interfere with other branches of government. (Article 2, Section 28)

#3 More independently elected state officials than almost any other state including an independently elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and an Independently elected Supreme Court - both elected directly by the people rather than being appointed by the Governor or the legislature. (Article 3, Section 1).

#4 A clause granting the Superintendent of Public Instruction supervision over all matters related to the public schools. (Article 3, Section 22).

#5 A clause making the ample funding of schools the paramount duty of the state (rather than making the adequate funding of schools one of the duties of the legislature).

# 6 A clause requiring the legislature to provide for a uniform system of public schools.

#7 A clause requiring that the public school system also include high schools, colleges and vocational technical schools.

#8 A clause requiring a uniform system of state taxes.

#9 Several clauses prohibiting the legislature from granting tax breaks to private corporations.

In this report, we will examine why each of these conditions were written into the Washington State Constitution.

#1 The Washington State Constitution has no Separation of Powers Clause.
While the Attorney General claims that "separation of powers" prevents our Supreme Court from repealing tax breaks, it is a fact that, unlike every other State Constitution, the Washington State Constitution does not have a Separation of Powers Clause. Go ahead and look for it. You won't find one. The Separation of Powers clause our Attorney General referred to does not actually exist. Kind of like the "progress in school funding" does not actually exist. So why isn't there a Separation of Powers clause in our State Constitution? It was not an accident. The 75 drafters of our State Constitution had literally dozens of State Constitutions from around the nation at their disposal as they were writing the Washington State Constitution in the hot summer of 1889.

Here is the separation of powers clause in the Oregon State Constitution of 1859: Article III, Section 1. Separation of powers.The powers of the Government shall be divided into three separate branches, the Legislative, the Executive, including the administrative, and the Judicial; and no person charged with official duties under one of these branches, shall exercise any of the functions of another, except as in this Constitution expressly provided. 

Here is a similar Separation of Powers clause in the California State Constitution of 1850: Article III, Section 3. Separation of powers.The powers of the government of the state of California shall be divided into three separate departments--the legislative, executive and judicial; and no person charged with the exercise of powers properly belonging to one of these departments shall exercise any functions appertaining to either of the others, except as in this constitution expressly directed or permitted.

The Oregon and California Separation of Powers clauses strictly forbid the Judicial branch from interfering with the Legislative Branch - with the sole exception being to prevent the legislature from violating the State Constitution. Nevertheless, both State Courts have concluded that they can interfere with the legislature under some circumstances. Here is a quote from the San Fransisco Law Review:

"California courts have developed their own separation of powers jurisprudence based on the unique features of the California Constitution--which has been described as the “core powers” analysis. Under that analysis, a violation of the California separation of powers doctrine occurs only if an act by one branch “materially impairs” the core powers or functions of another branch. Incidental impairments do not constitute a violation, and reasonable regulation is permissible... the three branches of (state) government are interdependent and are not wholly independent entities... (California) courts will affirm the Legislature's interpretive efforts unless they are disclosed to be unreasonable or clearly inconsistent with the express language or clear import of the Constitution."https://www.law.berkeley.edu/files/45-USFLR-655.pdf

So even when there is a Separation of Powers Clause, this does not allow the legislature a blank check to violate our State Constitution. The purpose of the Separation of Powers doctrine is to avoid the accumulation of too much power in any single branch of government. So why did the drafters of the Washington State Constitution refrain from including this Separation of Powers clause?

The simple answer is that the branch of government the drafters of our Washington State Constitution feared most was the State legislature. Here is a quote from a local newspaper in 1889: "If a stranger dropped into the convention, he would conclude that the members were fighting a great enemy - and that this enemy is the State legislature!" Tacoma Daily Ledger August 9 1889

The wise drafters of our State Constitution wanted a independent Supreme Court - elected directly by the people - to act as a check against a corrupt legislature. This is also why the drafters of our State Constitution wanted an independently elected Superintendent of Public Instruction. They did not trust the legislature or the Governor to run our public schools.

The drafters of our State Constitution spent days, weeks and months discussing every clause in every one of these other Constitutions (especially every word in the California and Oregon Constitutions). They took hundreds of votes and went line by line over many options for every Article and every clause. Every word was carefully considered both in the 17 committees that were formed and then in the final debates before the votes were taken to adopt the various sections of our State Constitution. The reason there is no Separation of Powers clause is not in our State Constitution is because the drafters of our Constitution did not want a separation of powers clause. Instead, they wanted the Supreme Court to have the ability to over-rule the State legislature if the legislature became too corrupt.

#2 A section specifically prohibiting the legislature from enacting special laws that would interfere with other branches of government. (Article 2, Section 28)
Many legislators claim that they have unlimited power to pass any law that they want. This is simply not true. The legislature is not supposed to pass any law that is contrary to the Washington Constitution. Article 2, Section 28 of our State Constitution includes 18 areas where the legislature is prohibited from passing special laws. These 18 areas include several that are the duty of our Supreme Court and two that are the duties of the Superintendent of Public Instruction:

"The legislature is prohibited from enacting any private or special laws in the following cases:
#7 For authorizing the apportionment of any part of the school fund.
#15 Providing for the management of common schools."

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Apportionment means how school funds are divided between school districts. The reason the drafters of our state constitution did not want the legislature dividing up school funding between school districts is because the drafters wanted a uniform system of public schools. They rightly feared that the legislature would create a system of wealthy schools and poor schools (which is actually what has happened because the legislature has illegally authorized wealthy districts that can pass school bonds and poor school districts that could not).

The reason the drafters of our constitution did not want the legislature passing special laws regarding the management of our public schools is because they feared legislators would pass laws that harmed rather than helped schools. This is also exactly what has happened in the past 20 years - with the legislature passing literally hundreds of unfunded mandates that have created a bureaucratic nightmare of oppressive regulations for teachers and administrators.


#3 More independently elected state officials than almost any other state including an independently elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and an Independently elected Supreme Court - both elected directly by the people rather than being appointed by the Governor or the legislature. (Article 3, Section 1).

"ARTICLE 3, SECTION 1 EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENT states: The executive department shall consist of a governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer, auditor, attorney general, superintendent of public instruction, and a commissioner of public lands, who shall be severally chosen by the qualified electors of the state at the same time and place of voting as for the members of the legislature."

While most states only 3 or 4 statewide elected officials - with the remaining positions appointed by the Governor or the legislature - the drafters of our state constitution feared that this would give a corrupt Governor and legislature too much power. The solution was to have 8 state officers independently elected directly by the voters. No other state retains this much power directly in the hands of the people.

#4 A clause granting the Superintendent of Public Instruction supervision over all matters related to the public schools. (Article 3, Section 22).
In addition, to take power away from the Governor and the legislature, the following was written into Article 3, Section 22: "The Superintendent of Public Instruction shall have supervision over all matters pertaining to public schools."

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According to Rosenow, page 376, the original version of Article 3 Section 22 read: "The Superintendent of Public Schools shall perform such specific duties as may be prescribed by law." Thus the idea of a separate and independently elected Superintendent of Public Instruction occurred in two stages. First, was the concept of a Superintendent under the control of the State legislature. But at some point during July 1889, the Education Committee decided that the Superintendent should more clearly be given the right to supervise all matters relating to the public schools and they added completely new language that had never existed in any state constitution before.
http://lib.law.washington.edu/waconst/Sources/RosenowLinked.pdf

The term "all matters" means that the Superintendent of Public Instruction, as a separately elected branch of state government shall have supervision over each and every aspect of our public schools - including the matter of what level of funding is required by our schools and whether or not the legislature is complying with their Paramount Duty to provide that level of funding. To make this point abundantly clear, the drafters of our state constitution included the two clauses to Article 2, Section 28 prohibiting the legislature from interfering with the management of and distribution of funds to our public schools.

#5 A clause making the ample funding of schools the paramount duty of the state (rather than making the adequate funding of schools one of the duties of the legislature).
Unlike other states, which made it the duty of the legislature to adequately fund our schools, the drafters of our State Constitution created a shared Paramount Duty - a duty applied to the entire State Government including the Supreme Court - when they wrote Article 9, Section 1: "It is the paramount duty of the state to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders, without distinction or preference on account of race, color, caste, or sex."

While other state constitutions made it the duty of the state legislature to fund schools, the Washington Constitution made it the "paramount duty of the State." Notice that Article 9 Section 1 does not merely refer to the State legislature. It refers to our entire State government - which includes the Governor and the Superintendent of Public Instruction. In other words, it is the Paramount Duty of every branch of State Government to make ample provision for the education of all children.

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Also while other state constitutions use the term "make adequate provision", the Washington State Constitution uses the term "make ample provision." In fact, the Washington State Constitution is the only constitution in the nation to make it the Paramount Duty of the entire State to amply fund our public schools.

Here is what one of the drafters of our State Constitution (and a later Supreme Court Justice said about Article 9, Section 1: "No other state has placed the common school on so high a pedestal. One who carefully reads Article 9 might wonder whether after giving to the school fund all that is here required to be given, anything would be left for other purposes. But the convention was familiar with the history of school funding in the older states, and the attempt was made to avoid the possibility of repeating the tale of dissipation and utter loss." Theodore L. Styles One of the 75 drafters of the Washington State Constitution and later a Supreme Court Justice in Effects of the State Constitution on Public Interests Page 284 http://lib.law.washington.edu/waconst/Sources/Stiles.pdf#page=6

Thus, the 75 drafters of our state constitution had one paramount goal, namely the ample funding of a uniform system of public schools. In order to achieve that paramount goal, they did everything they could think of to minimize the chances that powerful corporations might corrupt and take over our state legislature.

# 6 A clause requiring the legislature to provide for a uniform system of public schools.
The first sentence in Article 9, Section 2 of our state constitution states:
"The legislature shall provide for a general and uniform system of public schools."

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This sentence means that the legislature must provide the funds for a uniform system of public schools. Our state constitution specifically prohibits a system of rich schools that can pass local levies and poor schools that cannot pass a local levy. This is why in 1978, after the Seattle 1 School Funding decision, the Washington state legislature passed the Levy Lid Act restricting local levies to no more than 10%. Our Supreme Court later ruled that this 10% difference between school districts to fund activities that are not part of a basic education was constitutional. Unfortunately, our legislature ignored this law and keep raising the lid on local levies such that today, some wealthy school districts raise 40% of their funds from local levies while other property poor school districts are unable to raise any funds from local levies. Our Supreme Court has repeatedly ruled this to be unconstitutional.

But instead of honoring our State Constitution and providing ample funds for all school districts, our legislature now wants to pass a "Levy Swipe" where they rob one billion dollars from wealthy school districts (mainly in King County) and send it to other school districts around the state. This would essentially mean firing 10,000 teachers in King County in order to hire 10,000 teachers in other counties. This insane proposal ignores the fact that many school districts in King County have among the highest class sizes in the nation and the fact that the cost of living in King County is much higher than in the rest of the state. Robbing King County school districts of one billion dollars would simply make the class size problem and teacher shortage problem in King County even worse than it already is. If every school district in the state was amply funded, there would be no need to rob local tax payers in King County just to fully fund our schools. But this is the sort of insane proposal that is advocated by legislators in order to avoid dealing with the real problem - which is $36 billion per year in tax breaks being given to wealthy corporations.

#7 A clause requiring that the public school system also include high schools, colleges and vocational technical schools.
The second sentence in Article 9, Section 2 of our state constitution states: "The public school system shall include common schools, and such high schools, normal schools, and technical schools as may hereafter be established."

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Did you know that from 1889 to 1918, our state offered free higher education to every student in our state? The first time that tuition was charged was in 1918, when a small tuition was charged at the University of Washington. But “the education of all children” as defined in our State Constitution does not merely mean reading writing and arithmetic. Instead, the drafters of our State Constitution meant the total education of our children – total as in preparing children to be active members of our democracy and also total is in preparing children to actually get a job and be successful in life.

Let’s take a look at what the drafters of our State Constitution stated should be included in our Public School System Below is a chart which depicts the public school system as intended by the Washington State Constitution:

09 Note that our Constitution specifically refers to four kinds of schools as being part of the “system of public schools.” The myth is that our Constitution only requires funding the elementary schools and secondary schools (Grades K through 12). However, our State Constitution also requires ample funding for public normal schools and public technical schools.

The next questions are: What is meant by a NORMAL school? And what is meant by a TECHNICAL school?
The drafters of our State Constitution meant something other than elementary schools or high schools in referring to normal schools and technical skills. If these were the same as elementary schools and high schools, there would have been no need for the added language. The drafters also felt it was so important to include these two extra kinds of schools that they specifically included both kinds in the State Constitution.

Finally, by using the term “technical schools as may hereafter be established”, the drafters of our State Constitution realized that the need for post-secondary education may be greater in the future than it was in 1889. They wanted to make sure that the State would provide schools for the total education of children for any future occupations and not merely for the occupations that existed in 1889.

Because our State Constitution was intended to be written in plain English, we can look at a dictionary to learn what words mean. But because the words are 100 years old, we should also look at a 100 year old dictionary or history book to see what those words used to mean. Here is the history of the term normal school from Wikipedia.org:

A normal school is a school created to train high school graduates to be teachers. Its purpose is to establish teaching standards or norms, hence its name. Most such schools are now called teachers' colleges; however, in some places, the term normal school is still used.

In 1829 Hall's'Lectures on School-Keeping' appeared--the first book in this country on the subject of teaching. It advocated the establishment of separate institution for the preparation of teachers and emphasized the necessity of improving the schools by improving the teachers." In 1838, the Massachusetts legislature passed the Normal School Act.

The normal-school idea grew rapidly after the Civil War, and by 1910 virtually all of the state of the Union had enacted legislation for the establishment of teacher-training institution. With the growth of the idea that teachers need more than a minimum of preparation in order to do their work effectively has developed the idea of the teachers college--an institution with a curriculum designed to meet the special needs of teachers, just as a college of engineering endeavors to train engineers for their profession. In 1890, the State Normal School at Cheney was founded,

Teachers Colleges were initially a two year program and in 1920 to 1930 gradually extended to a four year program. At the time, there were three normal schools in our State. Currently, most teachers colleges are a 5 year program with the expectation that teachers will eventually have a Master’s Degree and 6 to 7 years of training. Below is the definition of technical school from the American Heritage Dictionary:

technical school…  A post-secondary vocational school that trains students in a variety of skills, especially in the manual trades, health care, and computer technology.

Obviously the drafters of our State Constitution did not intend that all students would be trained in computer technology. But they did intend that the system of public education funded by the State should include two post-secondary forms of education: teachers colleges and technical colleges. The drafters of our State Constitution specifically intended that Public Teachers Colleges would be an integral part of our system of public schools. This makes sense when one realizes that we have to train teachers in order to have teachers to teach children.

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Washington State Normal School, in Ellensburg, Washington, established by the Washington State legislature in 1890, the year after the State Constitution was drafted.

The purpose of this normal school was to train teachers to teach in Washington’s common schools and high schools. Students attended this normal school free of charge. In 1937, the name of this school was changed to Central Washington College of Education. In 1961, the name was changed to Central Washington State College. In 1977, the name was changed to Central Washington University.

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Barge Hall, the first normal school building in Washington State was built at the Washington State Normal School in Ellensburg in 1893 and is now part of the national historic registry.

Our State now calls our public teachers colleges “Colleges of Education.” There are several public teachers colleges in our State – with the main ones being at the University of Washington, Washington State University, Western Washington University, Central Washington University and Eastern Washington University. Cutting funding for any of these teachers colleges is just as harmful to our system of public schools as cutting funding for our elementary schools, middle schools or high schools!

Second, the drafters of our State Constitution specifically intended that Public Technical Colleges would be an integral part of our system of public schools. As mentioned about, these technical schools were not merely high schools as there would have been no need to add the words technical schools if all that was intended was public high schools. There was only one possible reason to add the term technical school to the Constitution and that was that the system of education should also include the kind of training that would help children get a job. Today, we call such schools Public Vocational Technical Colleges. These include Lake Washington Voc-Tech in Kirkland and Bates Voc Tech in Tacoma.

Some in the legislature claim that they do not need to provide for free higher education because our state legislature has never paid for normal schools or technical schools. This is utterly false. Normal schools were and still are called Teacher Preparation Colleges. Normal schools were and still are a part of the public school system that must be amply funded by our state legislature. The first three normal schools were Eastern Washington College, in Cheney, Central Washington College in Ellensburg and Western Washington College in Bellingham. The first technical college was called Washington State University in Pullman. Our legislature has established all kinds of community colleges and public universities and work training centers all over the State – just as anticipated by the drafters of our State Constitution. Every one of these public colleges and universities were intended to be part of our State’s system of Public Schools. Seen in this broader and more accurate light, the legislature has a paramount duty to amply fund colleges and universities to the same extent that they have to fully fund our K-12 public schools.

#8 A clause requiring a uniform system of state taxes.
Article 7, Section 1 of our state constitution states: "The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away. All taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only. The word "property" as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership."

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Original text -- Art. 7 Section 2 TAXATION -- UNIFORMITY AND EQUALITY -- EXEMPTION -- The legislature shall provide by law a uniform and equal rate of assessment and taxation on all property in the state, according to its value in money, and shall prescribe such regulations by general law as shall secure a just valuation for taxation of all property, so that every person and corporation shall pay a tax in proportion to the value of his, her, or its property;Provided, that a deduction of debts from credits may be authorized:

Original text -- Art. 7 Section 3 ASSESSMENT OF CORPORATE PROPERTY -- The legislature shall provide by general law for the assessing and levying of taxes on all corporation property as near as may be by the same methods as are provided for the assessing and levying of taxes on individual property.

Original text -- Art. 7 Section 4 NO SURRENDER OF POWER OR SUSPENSION OF TAX ON CORPORATE PROPERTY -- The power to tax corporations and corporate property shall not be surrendered or suspended by any contract or grant to which the state shall be a party.Reviser's note: Original section 4 was stricken by Amendment 14. It is set out following Art. 7 Section 1, above.

The problem with granting 700 tax breaks to wealthy corporations, besides the fact that these billions in tax breaks make it impossible to fully fund our schools, is that these tax breaks create a non-uniform system of taxes whereby local homeowners pay a much higher percentage of taxes than wealthy multinational corporations. Put another way, even if the legislature had fully complied with their Paramount Duty to amply fund our public schools, tax breaks to wealthy corporations would still be against the Washington State Constitution.


#9 Several clauses prohibiting the legislature from granting tax breaks to private corporations.
Throughout the State Constitution, there are several clauses that indicate that granting tax breaks to private corporations is unconstitutional. Here are just a few of those clauses.

Article 2, SECTION 28 SPECIAL LEGISLATION.The legislature is not only prohibited from enacting special laws regarding the management of our public schools, they are also prohibited from enacting any private or special laws... Here are three of several clauses prohibiting tax breaks to corporations:
5. For assessment or collection of taxes, or for extending the time for collection thereof.
6. For granting corporate powers or privileges.

10. Releasing or extinguishing in whole or in part, the indebtedness, liability or other obligation, of any person, or corporation to this state.

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Article 2, SECTION 30 BRIBERY OR CORRUPT SOLICITATION states:"The offense of corrupt solicitation of members of the legislature, or of public officers of the state or any municipal division thereof, and any occupation or practice of solicitation of such members or officers to influence their official action, shall be defined by law, and shall be punished by fine and imprisonment."

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Corporate lobbyists now control Olympia by offering bribes, called campaign contributions, to any legislator willing to pass laws to give their corporate masters special tax breaks. These bribes/ campaign contributions are all unconstitutional and the corporate lobbyists who are giving these bribes should all be put in jail.

There is only one tax exemption authorized by our State Constitution. It is a tax exemption for homeowners.

ARTICLE XIX EXEMPTIONS SECTION 1 EXEMPTIONS -- HOMESTEADS states: "The legislature shall protect by law from forced sale a certain portion of the homestead and other property of all heads of families."

Why Ending Corporate Welfare is Required by the Washington State Constitution
No other state in the nation grants tax breaks to wealthy corporations to the extent that the Washington legislature has granted tax breaks to wealthy corporations. The total is now more than $36 billion per year. In granting 700 tax exemptions, some of which apply to only a single corporation, such as Microsoft or Boeing, our state legislature has created laws that clearly violate the uniformity clause of Article 7, Section 1 of our State Constitution. These special tax breaks are not legal even if the Constitution did not have a Paramount Duty clause. But when we also consider the Paramount Duty clause and how hard the drafters of our State Constitution worked to prevent corporate corruption in our state, the existence of these 700 illegal tax breaks adds insult to injury. Even after our Supreme Court ruled in 2012 that our public schools were not being amply funded (something obvious to any parent or teacher), the legislature continued to enact even more tax breaks - including a new $9 billion tax break for Boeing that was the largest tax break in the history of the planet.

How did this unique State Constitutional Framework come about?
A good website for learning about the history of the Washington state constitution is the Gallagher Law Library at the University of Washington. Here is the direct link to their page on the history of the Washington State Constitution.
https://lib.law.washington.edu/content/guides/waconst

Never in the history of our nation has there been a group of people more dedicated to fully funding a system of public schools. The Washington state constitutional convention was dominated by 43 populist "Lincoln Republicans" from the western side of the state who supported the right of women to vote. This was balanced against 29 conservative Democrats, mostly from the eastern half of the state, who generally opposed the right of women to vote. What was interesting is that both groups feared a corrupt legislature that would be controlled by powerful corporations. Both groups also supported an amply funded and uniform system of public schools. Thus, the vote on nearly all sections of our State Constitution was nearly unanimous. For example, only two delegates voted against the Education Article.

Here is what a leading scholar on the history of our state constitution stated about this group: A reform mood was evident in the repeated efforts to deal with political corruption, in a general distrust of government (even. of representative government), and in similar doubts about the large business corporations which were then becoming too powerful... When it came to finding protection against public officials who might be guilty of. misdeeds, the. answer was to make administrative and judicial officers individually responsible to the electorate. Beverly Rosenow, The Journal of the Washington State Constitutional Convention. 1962 http://lib.law.washington.edu/waconst/Sources/RosenowLinked.pdf

The Education Committee
While there were about 17 committees, none was more active in writing completely new provisions than the Education Committee. This committee consisted of 7 people, including 3 teachers, 2 lawyers, 1 farmer and 1 doctor. The following are their names, occupations and political party: Blalock (Doctor D), Lindsley (Farmer R), Lillis (Teacher R), Dickey (Teacher R), Eshelman (Teacher D), Dunbar (Lawyer R), Allen (Lawyer R).

The unique provisions created by this group were adopted without hardly any changes by the Convention as a whole. The single provision this group was most responsible for writing was Article 9 Section 1.

Previous to this group, other state constitutions had much weaker education language. For example, here is the Oregon state constitution from 1857:
Section 1 The Governor shall be superintendent of public instruction, and his powers, and duties in that capacity shall be such as may be prescribed by law.
Section 3. System of common schools. The Legislative Assembly shall provide by law for the establishment of a uniform, and general system of Common schools.

Oregon therefore lacked a separately elected Superintendent of Public Instruction and even the Governor's role in running the schools was subject to control by the dictates of the state legislature. Apparently this system of having the legislature and the governor running the schools led to a great deal of corruption in Oregon between 1857 to 1889 - because the delegates to the Washington legislature commented on this problem and were determined to avoid corruption of the public schools in Washington state.

This is why the Education Committee wrote: "It is the Paramount Duty of the State to make ample provision for the education of all children residing within its borders..."

The drafters of our state constitution stated that they wanted to limit the power of the legislature regarding our public schools because they feared that a corrupt legislature might drive our schools into the ground. This is why they wanted a separately elected Superintendent of Public Instruction to be in charge of all matters regarding our public schools.

This is also why the drafters of our State Constitution wanted an independent Supreme Court also elected directly by the people - to act as a check against a corrupt legislature passing laws that were contrary to the Paramount Duty of our State Constitution. Our Supreme Court clearly has the power to declare any statute to be invalid if that statute makes it impossible for the State to carry out its Paramount Duty of amply funding our public schools.

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Our State Constitution is that it was written by people who deeply feared that a corrupt legislature would refuse to fund our public schools. So they put several clauses in our State Constitution specifically to take power AWAY from the legislature and put it in the hands of independently elected people with the hope that they would force the legislature to fund our schools. This is exactly where we are today. Our Supreme Court has shown their independence by being the first Supreme Court in the nation to hold the State legislature in Contempt for failing to comply with the 2012 Court Order.

However, our legislature has continued to place corporate tax breaks above their duty to fund our schools despite sanctions from our Supreme Court. In January 2012, just weeks after our Supreme Court found that the legislature had failed meet their Constitutional duty to fund the public schools the legislature renewed $2.2 billion in corporate tax breaks – in a single afternoon! I know because I was there and I spoke against renewing these $2.2 billion in tax breaks. Let me say this again. The legislature renewed $2.2 billion in tax breaks in less than 2 hours.

We cannot possibly fund our schools as long as the legislature continues to give away these massive corporate tax breaks. Unfortunately, our current Superintendent of Public Instruction has too often yielded to the legislature by failing to oppose these billions in tax breaks. What is needed is a Superintendent who will use the power of Article 3, Section 22 to provide our Supreme Court with specific guidance on the precise level of funding required to meet the Paramount Duty of the State to amply fund our schools - and the exact tax breaks which prevent the State from meeting its paramount duty to our state's one million students. There is no other solution to the school funding crisis that will allow us to double school funding, build hundreds of schools, hire thousands of teachers and cut class sizes in half so that struggling students will finally get the help they need to succeed in school and succeed in life.

As always, we look forward to your questions and comments.

Regards,
David Spring M. Ed.
Candidate for Superintendent of Public Instruction
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