A bit of background on the property-tax cap: In 2001, voters passed Initiative 747 (effective in 2002), which restricted taxing districts to a property-tax increase of the lesser of inflation, or 1 percent. This limit is on the taxes collected and not on the growing value of the property. But, in November 2007, the Supreme Court held that since Initiative 747 did fulfil the law it amended as the Constitution requires. And, in that same month, the Legislature met in special session and passed HB 2416, reinstating the 1 percent levy limit established by Initiative 747.
Now, the debate continues about whether that 1 percent cap should be lifted again. Public-affairs consultant and former chairman of the state Republican Party Chris Vance recently argued in The Seattle Times Opinion section:
“Capping revenue growth at 1 percent a year makes it virtually impossible for the county to even keep up with inflation … (and) replace the 1 percent property-tax cap with a cap limiting revenue growth to a factor of inflation plus the rate of population growth.”
“There’s been an overwhelming vote of the people and even a broader legislative vote to make the 1 percent caplimit the law. It’s important to know that governments get property taxes from multiple sources. Every year, they get property-tax revenue, as well as tax dollars from new construction, improvements, annexations, banked capacity, real-estate excise taxes, property-valuation increasesjumps and voter-approved levies. When added together, property taxes to government consistently rise faster than inflation.”
What do you think about the idea of lifting the property-tax cap? I’ve gotten letters this week from homeowners, several on fixed incomes who say they might be priced out of their homes if the property tax went up. But, as Vance wrote, the realities of funding local government and infrastructure require funding sources.
Have your say in the form below and continue the debate on the property-tax cap. I’ll publish the best submissions online and in print in the next week. And make sure to tune in Thursday at noon to a live video discussion between Vance and Eyman about the cap. It should be a lively and interesting debate.