State legislature passes one-time property tax cut for 2019; increases teacher pay year earlier than planned

UPDATE | MARCH 13, 2018

Last week the state legislature passed a supplemental state budget, taking into account new tax revenue attributed to the state’s strong economy.

The budget contains a one-time property tax cut – which will be applied in 2019. The state senate originally proposed the tax relief come in 2018, but according to 5th District Senator Mark Mullet, that was proving difficult because many taxpayers had already paid their full year’s property tax bill.

The tax cut was also slightly less than proposed last month. In 2019 [only] the state education levy fund will decrease by .30/1000 of assessed value.  For a Snoqualmie Valley homeowner with an assessed value of $500,000, that equates to a $150 yearly savings.

Teachers will also see increased pay a year earlier than the legislature planned – now it hits in the 2018-19 school year. A bill passed last year to meet the McCleary Decision increased education funding, but did so a year past the timeline imposed by the state supreme court.  Special education also saw increased funding with the new supplemental budget.

You can read our earlier story below.

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ORIGINAL STORY

As the Washington State legislature pushes toward the close of its 2018 session, the senate and house are working to tweak a budget created only last year, taking into account new revenue – estimated around $1 billion dollars over the next four years due to the state’s strong economy.

The new forecasted revenue coincides with large property tax increases being felt across King County, some due to rising assessed values, but most of the jump (about two-thirds) is attributed to last year’s education funding fix.

The average county increase is estimated around 17%, but in the Snoqualmie Valley it’s higher – around 21%.  For my house that equates to a nearly $1600 property tax increase this year. Ouch. For comparison, in 2016 after the $244 million SVSD school construction bond passed, that increase was $1100.

Awash in all this new revenue, the legislature has been pursuing options to give a property tax reduction for 2018 – the “double-whammy” year when the state school levy went up sharply to meet the McCleary Decision demanding the state fully fund public schools, but the local school levy rates won’t be capped until 2019.

The senate’s supplemental budget – which could pass on the floor today – would give a one-year state school levy rate reduction of .35/1000 of assessed value. To enact that tax cut, the senate is proposing reallocating $430 million that would’ve gone to the state’s rainy day fund.

5th District Senator Mark Mullet said he’s optimistic the senate’s supplemental budget could pass, along with the proposed property tax cut for 2018. If the house passes its budget, which contains a controversial capital gains tax, the next two weeks would be spent working out a final budget.

According to Mullet, the senate budget also “fully funds” schools a year earlier than a bill passed by the legislature last summer. Recently the State Supreme Court said the legislature’s plan to fully fund schools met the McCleary Decision, but was being enacted one year too late.

Mullet said the senate budget could lead to the Snoqualmie Valley School District getting an additional $7 million from the state for the 2018/19 school year, money the district wasn’t supposed to see until 2019/20 school year.

In the interim, Mullet is urging people NOT to pay their full-year property tax bill now – pay the first half, though. He explained if the tax cut goes through there would not be enough time to change bi-annual property tax bills already sent out and due in April, but the second half – due in October – could retroactively reflect the full-year tax reduction.  He said if people pay the full year now, there may be no way to send out refunds if a cut is enacted.

We’ll keep you posted if tax cut is coming your way later this year. To see your property tax bill visit King County Parcel Viewer and enter your address in the top left corner.

Looking ahead: What to expect for 2019 property tax bills:

The Education Funding Plan passed by the legislature in June 2017 raised the state school levy rate to approximately $2.70/1000 of assessed value. The school levy fund is also NOT subject to Initiative 747 that limits annual increases in regular property tax levies to 1% until 2022. That means for the next three years if assessed values increase, the state school levy fund will increase accordingly instead of being limited by initiative 747.

The recently passed SVSD 4-year replacement EP&O levy will reduce the local levy from around $2/1000 in 2018 to an average of $1.47/1000 for 2019-2021, but may not be enough to offset the increases expected from the state levy fund.  The district also passed a 4-year replacement technology levy at a slightly higher rate.

 

Washington State Capitol Legislative Building.

 

 

Comments

  1. Heard Mullet interviewed on the radio. A perfect example of “weasel words.” We get the government we deserve.

  2. Dana Russell says

    Danna, thank you for covering this story! I’m not confident that all of our residents understand how much we have been over-taxed in the past few years.

  3. Obviously. They voted for this joker.

  4. I hope Sen. Mullet and his buddies don’t expect us to be dancing in the streets because the bloodsuckers are thinking about kicking down about a third of the EXCESS revenues. This is by far the worst fleecing in history at the state level, then the school district decides to hoodwink the taxpayers with a massive increase and don’t forget, we’ve probably got a nice big pie in the sky carbon tax coming our way. YEAH!

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