Editor’s note: In the Jan. 13 editorial, the editorial board shared its priorities for the 2019 legislative session — special-education funding, local K-12 levies, the environment, mental health and public records — and asked readers to share theirs.
Climate change will soon trump almost every other issue in front of us. It is critical to get on a path to recovery — we are currently and firmly on a path to ruin. The science is clear that we need not only to reduce CO2 production to zero, but start sequestering carbon at a significant rate to turn around the current trend.
Washington state can be a leader on this difficult path. A carbon tax would be a good start. Enforcing our own emission standards for all fossil-fuel consumption would be another.
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If the current trend goes on, my great-grandchildren will curse me, “What was he thinking?” I know the investment required will cost me money
When the Arctic ice melts (and it has started) the sea level rise will put easily 100 million refugees on the move. And they will not be gentle in their demands.
Larry Franks, Issaquah
After the state abandoned the University of Washington in the wake of the economic collapse of 2008 by reducing funding by 50 percent, many UW master’s degree programs were “privatized.”
In the Master of Public Health degree program I direct, tuition is projected next year to be $10,000 per quarter, resulting in students paying (in tuition alone) $60,000 for a credential to help protect the public’s health. We don’t offer a discount to in-state students because the state isn’t contributing anything.
The state’s knowledge-sector workforce relies on the UW’s 5,000 annual graduates of masters and doctoral programs. Fewer than half are in-state students, and only 15 percent are underrepresented minorities.
While the Legislature has focused on the cost of undergraduate education and has made some progress on accessibility there, we have ignored graduate education.
Amy Hagopian, director, Community Oriented Public Health Practice, University of Washington School of Public Health
Long-term Care Trust Act
Washingtonians are not saving enough for their future long-term care needs to enable them to continue to live independently, including help for personal care, transportation, meals, etc.
I ask the Legislature to pass the Long-term Care Trust Act that will be funded by a .58 percent payroll premium and offer lifetime benefits of up to $36,500. This will be a quality-aging assist for many seniors.
John Barnett, Kirkland
This must be the year Washington state lives up to its promise to the nearly 400,000 students at our community and technical colleges. The goal our state has set for a trained, capable workforce absolutely require a robust CTC system.
Adequate capital funding, fair compensation for faculty and staff, and support for innovation are essential investments that will benefit us all.
Tyler Page, Trustee, Renton Technical College
Personal income tax
Funding for basic education in Washington state is still inadequate. Despite dire warnings about climate warming, voters rejected the latest carbon-tax proposal.
Why are we shortchanging these critically important issues? The answer lies in Washington’s dysfunctional tax system, arguably the worst in the nation. Its most egregious characteristics are inadequacy and unfairness.
During most legislative sessions, our dysfunctional tax system puts lawmakers and citizens in a fiscal bind. Should we increase regressive taxes or forego needed public goods and services?
A simple fix is a flat-rate personal income tax with no other taxes.
Dick Conway, Seattle