OLYMPIA – Seattle-area households could see a sharp increase in property taxes if the Senate Republicans’ K-12 education funding plan prevails.
The Seattle Public Schools property tax levy could increase by nearly $1 billion by 2021, according to nonpartisan House Office of Program Research committee staff.
“While I’m glad Republicans are admitting new tax revenue is needed to satisfy the state Supreme Court’s McCleary ruling on fully funding K-12 education, they’ve picked a tax source that will hurt working families and those on fixed incomes the most,” said Rep. Jessyn Farrell, D-Seattle.
The state is under court order to increase education spending, which nearly all lawmakers agree requires new revenue sources. The Republican-endorsed plan generates 100% of the new revenue through $5.5 billion in higher state property taxes over four years. House Democrats favor a more progressive approach.
“It comes down to who pays. Should it be families struggling to pay the mortgage, like under the Republicans’ plan? Or should it be wealthy investors and large out-of-state corporations, who already aren’t paying their fair share under our state’s regressive tax structure?” Farrell said.
Also under the House Democrats’ plan, small businesses would get a break in the form of an exemption from the Business & Occupation tax. More than 72% of businesses in Washington state would pay no Business & Occupation tax at all under the Democratic small business tax relief proposal.
The Legislature is nearing the end of the first special session of 2017. Senate Republican leaders continue to refuse 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.