Today Sen. Christine Rolfes, D- Kitsap County, proposed an amendment to fund basic education in our state by closing a tax exemption created in the 1940s for the lumber industry but which now benefits five large oil refineries in our state.
The amendment was to be added to Senate Bill 5895, a bill that addresses how education will be funded in our state and relies on one-time fund transfers and sweeps. After intense debate on the Senate floor, the amendment fell short by a 22–25 vote.
Rolfes issued the following statement:
“The amendment I offered today was a one-word amendment and would have put the word ‘hog’ before the word ‘fuel’ in order to close the loophole big oil companies in our state take advantage of. This would have brought the legislation back to its original intent when it was created in 1949.
“Washington has the fourth most crowded classrooms in America. We could have an additional $40 million in the next two years for our schools from an industry that can afford to pay its share. We need to stop giving the oil industry in our state a blank check and start holding them accountable.
“Now is the time to address how we are going to pay for our students and their education. Our window to address those funding sources is rapidly closing. The Republican reasoning that this issue will be looked at later is another empty promise that will likely go unfulfilled.
“If we can’t talk about where the money for our kids comes from now, when will there be a better time? I surely can’t think of one. My colleagues across the aisle apparently chose to support corporations over our kids when they voted this amendment down.”