OLYMPIA – Households along much of the I-405 corridor would see a sharp property tax increase as a result of the state Republicans’ K-12 education funding plan.

The Senate Republican education funding proposal raises $5.5 billion in new state property taxes over the next four years. Nonpartisan estimates show Eastside communities would see substantial property tax increases, without increased funding for our local schools, under the Senate Republican plan:

  • Bellevue               $262 million property tax increase
  • Lake Washington   $247 million property tax increase
  • Issaquah               $120 million property tax increase
  • Mercer Island        $52 million property tax increase

“Republicans admit new revenue is needed to solve the state Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Rep. Vandana Slatter (D-Bellevue). “Lawmakers have a path to fully fund schools without disproportionately impacting Eastside families, small businesses, and people on fixed incomes. We can do this if both sides are willing to step up and do what’s best for kids.”

The state is under court order to increase education spending, which nearly all lawmakers agree requires new revenue sources. Republicans have endorsed a plan that generates 100% of the new revenue through $5.5 billion in higher state property taxes over four years while Democrats favor a more progressive approach.

“Both caucuses have proposed increasing revenues, so who should pay is the real question. Republicans want to increase taxes on 100% of working Eastside seniors and families. Democrats want to raise the necessary revenue from the wealthiest 3-4% of our community,” said Rep. Tana Senn (D-Mercer Island). 

Additionally, under the House Democrats’ plan, small businesses would get a break in the form of an exemption from the Business & Occupation tax. More than 70% of businesses in Washington state would pay no Business & Occupation tax at all under the Democratic small business tax relief proposal. That’s real relief for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Senn noted “By solely relying on increased property taxes to fund education, the GOP plan would eat into the main source of revenue for our Eastside cities.”

The Legislature is nearing the end of the first special session of 2017. Senate Republican leaders have refused invitations from Democrats to negotiate a compromise operating budget, making a second special session all but certain. If GOP lawmakers fail to come to the table to discuss a compromise by June 30, the state government could shut down July 1.

The Google Map linked here has information pertaining to the net increase in funding per student with both plans as well as the net property tax increase.


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