1. The state house majority Democrats released their budget proposal yesterday.

It tacks to the minority Democratic plan in the senate to cut $100 million in tax exemptions, directing the money toward K–12 funding in an effort to meet the Washington state Supreme Court's McCleary mandate. 

The minority house Republicans, who don't have much say in the matter, released a statement, though, that may have captured the pending fundamental dispute in this year's legislative session: Whether or not to take the court's demand for an April 30 K–12 funding plan seriously. 

The house Republicans brushed off the Democratic push for new revenue, and instead focused on the rest of the house Democrats' budget, saying it was similar enough to the supplemental budget proposal coming out of the senate—a bipartisan proposal that's separate from the Democratic senate school funding plan—that it "shouldn’t cause the Legislature to work beyond the 60-day regular session."

That cued up the following GOP pronouncement from Republican house budget lead Rep. Bruce Chandler (R-15, Granger): "Any effort to significantly increase spending for McCleary should be done when we write the next two-year budget, not in a supplemental budget year."

In other words, our work is basically done here this year despite the court's demand for an April 30 schools funding blueprint.

Yesterday, state senate Democratic leader Sen. Sharon Nelson (D-34, W. Seattle) begged to differ from the GOP's cavalier mien toward the court order, saying: "I think that this is a large enough issue that if we have to stay [past the March 13 session deadline], it's because we believe we have an obligation to our children.

"[The Democrats] are very clear that we still have obligations under McCleary as far as funding basic education for every child in this state and that we had not yet gone far enough. We have to go further [than the supplemental budget.] It is not as much as we should do this year."

The senate's supplemental budget puts about $40 million extra into K–12 funding. The Democratic plan, in addition to adding $100 million, puts $200 million into K–12 funding in the next biennium when the state has to find an extra $3 billion for education.

"In his own mind he was a benefactor to workers and the community, but in reality he was just an oppressive and racist jerk.”

2. Capitol Hill Seattle Blog reports on the sticking point in the $15 minimum wage debate: Indie businesses. Specifically, small businesses are pushing for "total compensation"—including health care, meals, and any other benefits—to be counted as part of a worker's wage, which would allow them to pay workers less than $15 an hour.

Small businesses are part of the progressive coalition and their concern is central to any compromise that mayor Ed Murray's minimum wage task force is hammering out.

However, the task force co-chair—and Service Employees International Union 775 leader—David Rolf frowns on the "total compensation" argument.

In a feature story Josh wrote for the magazine about Rolf and the $15 minimum wage negotiations, Rolf said dramatically: "It’s a Sal’s Pizzeria moment. Every time I hear about ‘the value of meals I give my employees,’ it reminds me of Sal in Do the Right Thing. In his own mind he was a benefactor to workers and the community, but in reality he was just an oppressive and racist jerk.”

3. With the City Council's special taxi committee set to vote on ridesharing companies today at 4:00—likely placing a limit on the number of drivers—Downtown Seattle Association President Kate Joncas hyped the green aspects of the sharing economy and issued a statement urging the council not to put limits on the new business model:

“Downtown is home to nearly half the jobs in Seattle and our residential population continues to grow. With more and more people coming downtown, we need to continue to reduce the number of single occupancy vehicles to ease congestion, and provide a supply of transportation choices that reflects the demand.”

Her plea echoed the January 30 letter she signed (along with Visit Seattle President and CEO Tom Norwalk and Seattle Hotel Association President David Watkins), which made a similar urbanist case:

Innovative new transportation options such as Car2Go, UberX, and Lyft have done much to meet the new demand being generated by this growth. Much as OneBusAway has done for transit, these services empower commuters, residents, and visitors to make real-time transportation decisions that flexibly adapt to changing conditions, enabling them to have the confidence to leave their car at home or forego car ownership entirely. We are concerned that excessively restricting these new market entrants jeopardizes our city’s status as a hub for innovation and technology.

Erica will be on KOMO radio 97.7 AM this morning (at 9:30) to break down the rideshare debate.