FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT: Kurt Hammond, Senior Public Information Officer, for Rep. Luanne Van Werven | 360-786-7794
Kylee Zabel, Public Information Officer, for Rep. Vincent Buys | 360-786-7031

Buys and Van Werven introduce legislation to reduce state property tax in 2018

Legislators from the 42nd Legislative District, Reps. Vincent Buys and Luanne Van Werven, introduced legislation Monday to protect Washingtonians from property tax increases as a result of levy reform the Legislature passed in 2017.

Under the education-funding plan the Legislature passed last June, the statewide property tax will increase to a flat rate of $2.70 per $1,000 of assessed value beginning in 2018. However, because local levy changes are not implemented until next year, 2019, taxpayers across the state will see an increase in property taxes in 2018. The Whatcom County lawmakers say the time is ripe for protecting property owners from this property tax increase, given the amount of growth in the state’s tax collections.

Their bill, House Bill 2434, would freeze the 2018 state property tax levy for basic education at 2017 levels – $1.89 for each $1,000 of assessed value. Once the new funding system is fully implemented in 2019, roughly two-thirds of property owners will see an overall reduction in the state portion of their property taxes. At the same time, Whatcom County schools will see significant compensation increases for basic education.

“This is critical legislation for Whatcom County taxpayers, as they will be facing a tax triple threat in 2018,” said Van Werven, R-Lynden. “Taxpayers will be encountering taxation from the McCleary fix, tax revaluation and increases because of the private well moratorium due to the Hirst court decision, and the Whatcom County Council’s flood tax increase, which will increase our property taxes $1.2 million.”

“The Legislature’s education-funding plan substantially increases the state’s investment in K-12 education and ends a local levy system that for too long created inequities in our schools,” said Buys, R-Lynden. “While our schools will benefit tremendously from the plan, the timing of the state and local property tax changes will undoubtedly hit some taxpayers hard. With the governor saying in July he himself was not pleased with how the property tax changes will impact owners, Representative Van Werven and I are hoping to see bipartisan support for our bill.”

House Bill 2434 is a companion measure to Senate Bill 6033, prime-sponsored by Sen. Doug Ericksen, R-Ferndale.

The 2018 legislative session began Jan. 8 and is scheduled to run 60 consecutive days.

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