Erica is cranking out another "Crank" (today, she's going after the progressive Seattle Transit Blog about Metro money as opposed to her usual attack on the conservative Seattle Times' Metro position.)
So, I'm handling today's OOBT responsibilities.
On Other Blogs Today:
1. The Washington Budget & Policy Center's blog Schmudget, which is Yiddish for budget obviously, explains that the Washington Education Association's class-size meaure, I-1351 (which mandates smaller class sizes) would add $1.4 billion to the the legislature's K-12 tab.
The current K-12 price tag, as mandated by the Washington State Supreme Court's McCleary decision, is about $5.1 billion (counting an additional $1.5 billion in teacher salaries). Nonpartisan staff crunched the numbers and put the McCleary mandate at $1.4 billion extra in the 2013-15 budgeting cycle (the legislature put in about $1 billion), an additional $2 billion in the 2015-17 cycle, and an additional $1.2 billion in the 2017-19 cycle. And that's all on top of the standard $15 billion per biennium the state already spends on K-12.
Schmudget puts I-1351 in the equation, crunches the numbers anew and finds:
Just in the next biennium, lawmakers would need to invest about $1.4 billion towards I-1351, in addition to the $2 billion installment needed for McCleary. The Office of Financial Management estimates the cost of I-1351 at $2 billion next biennium, based on current law. However, phased-in funding for McCleary, as recommended by the Joint Task Force on Education Funding, calls for an investment of $560 million in 2015-17 to lower class sizes in kindergarten through third grade. This partially overlaps with the requirements of I-1351, leaving the balance to fund I-1351 at approximately $1.4 billion.
Far from being a disincentive for supporting the WEA initiative (which would put class sizes at 17 in K-3, 27 in grades 4-6, and 25 in middle and high school), the lefty Budget & Policy Center, which has been advocating for new revenue for years, views the union initiative as a reality check on spending (including meeting status quo social service needs beyond education funding) and concludes:
Without an identified revenue source, I-1351 leaves it up to the legislature to determine how it will be funded. The sheer enormity of the gap between our resources and funding needs means that there is no escaping the need for new revenue. Funding I-1351 and meeting McCleary without additional revenues would be impractical. A cuts-only approach would decimate health care, child care, community colleges and universities, and other investments kids need in order to succeed in the classroom.
2. And here's one that I urged Erica to include in OOBT earlier this week (she didn't) ...
In addition to driving up rents in Seattle, here's another reason to hate on Amazon: Despite undermining sales from book publisher Hachette on the Amazon website (Amazon is lousing up the company's sales as leverage in hardball negotiations over ebook sales), the online giant is not applying the same monkey wrenches (refusing pre-orders, for example) to one Hachette author, U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), the former GOP VP nominee and likely presidential contender in the future.
From this week's NYT's Bits blog on Ryan's book The Way Forward:
All Hachette authors are equal, but some are more equal than others. ...
Another book that did not get the Ryan treatment, as I mentioned in an article on Monday, was “Sons of Wichita,” about the conservative billionaire Koch brothers. The book got strong early reviews, and reached the extended New York Times bestseller list. But Amazon barely discounted it and warned shipping would take as long as five weeks. (On Aug. 1, the discount was dropped entirely.) The book promptly fell off the list.
“The wind was at my back, but Amazon diminished some of that momentum at a key moment,” said Daniel Schulman, its author.
Some authors might be bitter at this, and forswear Amazon forever. But as he awaits the birth of his first child, Mr. Schulman personally remains a devoted Amazon customer. “Do I like it when I press Buy?” he asked. “It does bother me. It’s a split brain thing. My wife would probably divorce me if I got rid of our Amazon Prime subscription.”
Mr. Schulman’s conclusion: “If you’re a powerful business mogul or politician, Amazon might not mess with your book sales.” Too bad, he joked, that he is not on the 2016 presidential short list.
A spokesman for Mr. Ryan, Don Meyer, declined to comment.