Pollet puts legislative focus on local government, education, taxes

Friday, January 18, 2019

State Rep. Gerry Pollet
By Evan Smith

Democratic State Rep. Gerry Pollet says that he will emphasize local government, education and the state tax system in the legislative session that started Monday.

The local government element comes with his leadership post on the Local Government Committee in the House of Representatives.

“As Chair of the Local Government Committee, I will be working to provide our local cities, counties, fire, water and sewer districts with the resources they need to protect public safety and provide the services that residents expect,” Pollet said last week.

The education element comes from his concern for a need to keep working on state support for public schools.

“Our schools continue to face a financial cliff with inadequate funding to provide our students key elements of ‘basic education,’’ despite the Supreme Court ruling that this is the state's responsibility,” he said. 
“Districts face a shortfall of hundreds of millions of dollars every year in state funding to lower class sizes and pay for special education and bilingual education. Districts are no longer allowed to fund basic education with local levy dollars. What are our school districts supposed to do? 
"A top priority of mine is legislation to fully fund basic education.”

Paying for all of this leads to his focus on the state’s tax system.

“We also have to make our tax system more fair –- closing massive tax loopholes and taxing wealth instead of relying on regressive sales and property taxes,” Pollet said.

“I will be supporting a capital gains tax on large investments (not including homes or retirement accounts) to reduce state school property taxes and provide relief for seniors on limited incomes.”

He is a member of both the Appropriations Committee and the Committee on College and Workforce Development.

His focus on education extends to providing money to help students pay for college.

“I will be introducing a new Washington Promise to allow all qualified low and middle income students to attend college without debt, along with legislation to provide for our community and four year colleges to have evidence-based programs to help students stay in school and complete degrees or work force certificate programs,” he said.

He added that another area of his work on higher education will include legislation to stop for-profit colleges and vocational schools from defrauding students or pushing them into massive student-loan debts that they will never be able to repay.

“While I succeeded in passing legislation to start regulating the for-profit colleges a year ago, the Trump Administration has eliminated essential protections for student consumers which we need to replace with state-level protections, he said.

A local issue he said he will work on is legislation he will introduce to “protect the public from noxious and toxic odors from the Kenmore asphalt plant alongside the Burke Gilman Trail and Lake Washington.

“For too long, industry has been shielded by a state law preventing the City of Kenmore and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency from processing complaints from people exposed to the odors while on the Burke-Gilman Trail or at Town Center.”

Pollet represents the 46th Legislative District including Lake Forest Park, Kenmore and North and Northeast Seattle.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com


Anonymous,  January 18, 2019 at 1:44 PM  

Don't do it Representative Pollet!

No matter what, pretty much EVERY tax increase to the wealthy gets passed down to the less wealthy making them poorer and that much closer to being forced by the State in to homelessness.

Not believing it? Haven't we been complaining about massive increases in homelessness in Seattle for the past six, seven years? How about one of the latest (ST3) $54 Billion tax packages Democratic leader WA State Senator Reuven Carlyle said would "suck all of the oxygen (taxes) out of the room?" That was just two years ago (2016). Average Seattle residents are taxed out and a capital gains (illegal income tax) isn't going to hack it. All of these average Seattle residents are going to be displaced from their homes as they can no longer afford to live in them. Help people help themselves. Start cutting taxes during this economic boom vs. adding even greater burdens.

And, Education as a focus??? How about calculating educational funding by the average amount spent/classroom/year and looking at funding education being adequate, or not?

The Seattle and Shoreline School districts each receive/spend about $15,000/student/year. At your Kenmore Legislative District send-off the audience was asked about class size. It sounded like 26 students/class was the minimum.

Using those numbers we can calculate that Seattle and Shoreline receive a minimum of $390,000/classroom/year. Teachers are paid less than $90,000/year. That leaves $300,000+/classroom/year for WHAT???

We don't need to spend more money on education. We just need fewer administrators, lower pensions/perks, and more efficient use of the dollars already provided.

Thanks for changing your 2019 priorities based on need/reality vs. politics/your personal political gain. That is so awesome!

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