Report: Locke proposes tax increase for education

Gov. Gary Locke will propose today a $1 billion tax increase to fund education for preschool to college, the Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing a draft plan.

The proposal, which calls for a 1 percent increase in sales tax, would include funding for early education programs for low-income children, class size reduction mandated by voter-approved Initiative 728, and state colleges and universities, according to the report.

If the proposal is approved by the Legislature this year, it would be placed on the ballot in November.

The draft does not include funding for cost-of-living raises for teachers mandated by Initiative 732, AP said.

At his weekly news conference Wednesday, Locke did not mention the pending proposal, but focused on education.

“Education continues to be my top priority,” he said, praising legislative progress so far. “It is absolutely critical that we further education reform in our state and maintain our tough new academic standards.”