On property-tax day, Ericksen says Legislature missed chance for $1B tax cut

 

  • Ericksen proposed $1B property tax relief measure
  • Majority party rejected meaningful property tax relief in 2018
  • State is collecting billions in unanticipated tax money

 

OLYMPIA – Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale, released the following statement April 30, the deadline for most Washington taxpayers to pay the first half of their 2018 property taxes.

“Like many other property owners in Washington state, I went to the courthouse today to pay my taxes. I share their frustration that property taxes have grown too fast and too high. This year we are seeing a temporary $1 billion spike in property taxes, as a result of a school-financing program we passed in 2017. What many people don’t realize is that we could have easily fixed the problem this year. With $2.3 billion in unanticipated tax collections, we could have eliminated the entire increase and had money to spare.

“Today nearly every homeowner in Washington is feeling the effect of the majority party’s refusal to address this year’s spike in a meaningful way. The problem is worst in the central Puget Sound area, where new Sound Transit taxes have pushed taxes even higher. Democratic leaders also failed this year to provide relief from high transit taxes.

“The Legislature needs to do more to control its spending and reduce the burden on working families. I paid my own taxes today, and I feel their pain.”

During this year’s legislative session, Ericksen sponsored SB 6439, which would have provided a $1 billion property tax cut in 2018. The bill did not get a hearing, and when the proposal was offered as an amendment on the Senate floor, all members of the Senate Democratic Caucus voted to reject it. The final budget deal, controlled by the majority party, provides only $400 million in relief next year, when the crisis has passed, and it diverts the money from the state’s emergency reserve, leaving the state more vulnerable to financial trouble.