OLYMPIA…Sen. Lynda Wilson, R-Vancouver and Senate Republican budget leader, offered this comment after learning the proposal to allow local governments to raise property taxes by up to 3% annually without a vote of the people will not move any further this legislative session.
The Democratic senator who is prime sponsor of Senate Bill 5770 today told The Washington State Standard that the bill, which was placed on the Senate voting calendar Wednesday, will not be brought forward. Most of the 18 Democrats who are sponsors of the bill hail from the Puget Sound area, and 13 Democrats on the Senate Ways and Means Committee had approved the bill Monday.
“Republicans are working to lower the cost of living, and housing costs are a big part of that. I can’t figure out why so many Democrats from Puget Sound counties got behind this idea. They of all people should have realized it would make housing even more expensive, both to buy and to rent, at a time when people are already struggling to get by.
“The supporters of this bill didn’t highlight how the 1% cap set by voters nearly 20 years ago and confirmed by the Legislature in 2007 applies to annual property-tax increases approved at the council level. Local governments have always had the option to go above 1% if they get voter approval. More than anything this bill was about making it easier to raise property taxes without asking voters. I’m glad it is off the table for this year, but taxpayers should still be outraged that the bill got as far as it did.”