Public Policy Issue Essay

3143 words - 13 pages

On November 4, 2007, voters were asked to pass initiative 4204, which would allow school levies to pass with a simple majority vote like all other initiatives that go to the ballots. This paper will address initiative 4204, explain the pros and cons of this initiative identify the parties that are involved, and analyze the effects of the policy on both public and private groups. Lastly, this paper will evaluate solutions that have been tried in order to solve the problem as well as propose solutions that will be more successful than those that have already been tried.BackgroundIn November voters in Washington state were asked to pass initiative 4204 which according to Banks (2007), "would change the constitution of Washington state to replace the decades old requirement that school district levies must pass by a supermajority of 60% "yes" votes" (p. 1). This initiative is only for the passing of levies and not for school bonds. School districts across the state believe it is now time that all levies that are put to the voters are treated like any other election initiative and should require only the supermajority of 50% plus one in order to pass. School districts have long argued the point that the legislature does not provide them with enough money to fund schools, and the schools have no way to raise money in order to breach the gap between what is given to them from the legislature to what they need.According to the Washington Education Association, WEA, (n.d.), "local levies provide our schools with fundamental needs" (p. 1). These levies provide schools and students with much needed textbooks, technology equipment, and training for staff members, as well as much smaller class sizes. These are needed if we are to ensure that students attending public school are receiving the best possible education that can be given. When it comes to class size, Washington State ranks 47 in the nation (WEA, nd).Washington constitution requires that all school levies be passed by a supermajority vote instead of a simple vote. According to Local and U.S. World News (2007), "supermajority voting became popular among Washington state voters in the 1930s, a time of economic depression. The belief was, that non-property owners should not be allowed to raise taxes of property owners" (p. 1). The reason for the change is that the state use to boast more than 2,000 school districts statewide and now only boasts a little fewer than 300 districts. With so few school districts compared to years past passing this initiative is important to the welfare and education of our youth.Sub-Topics of EHJR 4204The Engrossed House Joint Resolution (EHJR) 4204 changes Washington State's Constitution concerning limits on local property taxes in a given year. Prior to the passing of 4204, state and local property taxes were limited in a single year to no more than 1% of the value of the property being taxed with the exception of specific limitations. The limitation in this case would...

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