Equalization to lower the taxpayer cost for voter-approved referendum is in play this session. The House has $25 million in the education budget, and the Senate has $15 million in the tax budget. With just a few days left in the legislative session, leadership is making important decisions now. It's critical that they hear from you that equalization must be part of the final budget agreement. Here are a few talking points.
The level of equalization should be at $25 million a year as supported in the House position
As outlined in the Governor's budget document, the gap between districts at the 5th and 95th percentiles is once again growing. The only sure way for this gap to be narrowed is for the lowest funded districts pass a voter-approved operating referendum, as painful as that may be in many communities. To accomplish this, a commitment to tax fairness for low property wealth school districts is crucial.
The provision should be carried in the tax bill. For too long, the responsibility for tax fairness as it relates to education levies has been pitted against revenue programs in the education-related committees. Equalization is tax policy and is best addressed as a tax issue.