21st District incumbent: funding education requires new revenue

Alex Hels (left) and Strom Peterson

By Evan Smith

Incumbent Democratic 21st District State Rep. Strom Peterson says that providing court-ordered support for public schools will require new revenue.

Peterson responded last month to a question about how the state should provide money for full support for schools as ordered by the courts.

Peterson’s statement is here. Libertarian challenger Alex Hels has not responded to requests for a statement. No Republican ran for the position.

Peterson and Hels face each other on the November ballot for the position that Peterson has held for a single two-year term.

The 21st Legislative District includes most of Edmonds, unincorporated areas north of Edmonds and Lynnwood and northeast of Lynnwood, all of Mukilteo and part of south Everett.

Here is Peterson’s statement:

Strom Peterson (Prefers Democratic Party) —

While there are no easy answers to this, there are two broad concepts to consider in order to tackle this multi-billion-dollar budget need. Number one, we need new sources of revenue dedicated toward education. Currently Washington has the most regressive tax system in the country, meaning working families and the poor pay a greater percentage of their income in taxes than the wealthiest among us. A modest capital gains tax on the top 1 percent would go a long way to funding education. We simply need to ask the wealthiest to pay their fair share. Secondly, we cannot cut social services to pay for education. Our social safety net was decimated during the great recession, and we are just now beginning to restore funding for mental health services, nutrition programs, and affordable housing. No matter how much we spend on education, if we don’t have safe and healthy communities for families we are throwing money away. One final concern is that we not lose focus on so many other issues important to our communities: climate change, the opioid/heroin epidemic and transportation to name a few. Education is our paramount duty, but it’s not our only one.

Alex Hels (Prefers Libertarian Party) —

He has not responded to requests for a statement about support for education.

Evan Smith can be reached at schsmith@frontier.com.

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