With the new year upon us, it’s time to look ahead to the start of the 2019 legislative session and where the Roundtable will focus.
Most of the more than 740,000 jobs that will be available in Washington state in the coming years will be filled by workers with a post-high school credential, such as a degree, apprenticeship, or certificate. Yet, it is estimated that only 40 percent of our students attain a credential by age 26. Our goal: Raise the credential attainment rate for Washington students to 70 percent by the high school class of 2030.
- Ensure Washington’s youngest learners enter school ready to learn and excel, with a focus on expanding high-quality early learning options for low-income children.
- Ensure students are positioned to succeed on the post-high school pathway of their choice by maintaining the state’s commitment to rigorous learning standards, assessments, and high school graduation requirements.
- Support students who may be at risk of dropping out by establishing an early warning system that monitors if 9th graders are on track to graduate on time.
- Reduce financial barriers to postsecondary education for Washington’s lowest-income students by fully funding the State Need Grant.
- Support credential completion at the state’s community and technical colleges through expansion of Guided Pathways programs.
Washington continues to benefit from one of the nation’s most robust state economies, with strong projections for employment and personal income growth. However, a look beneath the statewide data indicates that prosperity is spread unevenly, and many families and communities in our state are struggling. Additionally, there is growing concern that substantial increases in state spending in recent years have not been matched with a commitment to build strong reserves. This will put recent investments in education and other state priorities at risk during the next economic downturn. We call on state leaders to focus on policies that drive inclusive and diversified growth, to ensure the state is building for – not borrowing from – its future.
The Roundtable urges the 2019 Legislature to:
- Deliver a 2019-21 biennial budget that is sustainable, predictable, and supports diversified and inclusive economic growth. This includes maintaining the state’s commitment to the four-year balanced budget requirement, building sufficient reserves to weather an economic downturn, and avoiding budget gimmicks or other actions that drain the state’s rainy-day fund.
- Eliminate duplicative regulation and ease regulatory burdens, particularly in rural areas.
- Support policies that promote economic development and job growth, particularly in non-urban regions. This includes support for business attraction and retention efforts, incentives for greater intercounty and public-private cooperation, and expansion of broadband infrastructure to underserved communities.
Click below to view a report we released in 2018 about how to unlock Washington’s full economic potential:
There are great opportunities ahead for Washington. We look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working together on these important issues. Click here to read our full 2019 Policy Agenda, and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn for updates throughout the legislative session.