Property tax proposal from Senate Democrats comes up short, Ericksen says

  • Dem plan provides no relief until 2019
  • Offers only partial reduction of next year’s state tax levy
  • Ericksen plan offers full relief – $1 billion cut is effective this year

OLYMPIA – A property tax relief proposal from Senate Democrats doesn’t help taxpayers who are reeling from this year’s increases in their tax bills, says Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

Ericksen, author of a bill providing a $1 billion property tax cut, said the Democratic plan is too small and too late. “This proposal doesn’t fix the problem,” he said. “Taxpayers are seeing their property taxes go up this year. We’ve offered a sensible proposal that provides full relief, right now. We have the money. The Legislature should put taxpayers first.”

The biggest reason for this year’s one-time spike in property taxes is a school-financing plan adopted by the Legislature last year. Ericksen’s proposal, SB 6439, provides a one-time $1 billion reduction in property taxes, restoring this year’s state levy to last year’s levels.

The Democrats’ one-time proposal, announced Monday, would cut taxes by only $403 million, and the reduction would not take effect until next year, when the spike has passed.

Meanwhile, new tax projections show Washington’s robust economy will deposit $2.3 billion more into state coffers than was expected when the school financing plan was adopted last year.

Under current law, the state levy on a $300,000 home is rising from $567 in 2017 to $810 in 2018 and 2018 – a $243 increase. The Senate Democratic proposal would reduce the state levy to $717 in 2019, a $150 savings. Ericksen’s proposal would eliminate the full increase in 2019, bringing the tax bill down to $567, for a savings of $243.

However, Ericksen’s plan would offer relief this year because the bill allows taxpayers to defer this year’s increase to next year’s taxes. The deferral mechanism is required because of state laws preventing retroactive tax changes.