The state’s new schools-funding plan will be responsible for about two-thirds of the county’s 17 percent average increase, according to King County Assessor John Wilson.
Property-tax bills due to be mailed next month across King County will be higher than last year’s by an average of nearly 17 percent, Assessor John Wilson says.
And the bump will cost the owner of a median-valued county home about $700, according to Wilson, who says the state’s new school-funding plan is the main reason.
He says the plan created in response to the state Supreme Court’s landmark McCleary decision will be responsible for about two-thirds of King County’s hike.
“It’s the largest increase in some time,” Wilson said in an interview Friday.
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Some areas within the county will see larger jumps than others. In Seattle, the tax increase will be 16.9 percent, Wilson said. That means the owner of a median-valued home ($597,000) in the state’s largest city will pay about $825 more than the owner of what was a median-valued home last year paid in 2017, he said.
In Bellevue, the increase will be 21.6 percent, causing the owner of a median-valued home ($791,000) to pay $1,300 more than the owner of a median-valued home last year. And Federal Way will see a 11.5 percent increase — $434 more for the owner of a median-valued home ($301,000) than for the owner of a median-valued home last year.
Bills are set to be mailed Feb. 14, said Wilson, promising that his office will be posting data online in early February for taxpayers to examine.
The impending tax increases prompted Democratic Sen. Reuven Carlyle to speak out on social media this week.
A Seattle Democrat, Carlyle says he voted against the school-funding plan as over-reliant on property taxes and unfairly distributed across the state.
Local lawmakers who voted for the plan, such as Rep. Gerry Pollet, D-Seattle, said it would boost funding for schools.
In 2012, the Supreme Court had ruled the state was violating its constitution by underfunding public education.
But critics such as Caryle attacked the plan, sometimes called a property-tax swap, for boosting taxes in “property-rich” and Democratic areas such as Seattle while lowering them in rural, Republican areas. He says large companies will benefit.
“This has been a longtime battle over how to fund education, and property taxes need to be a component of the solution. But the lack of enthusiasm from the Republicans who designed this plan for any meaningful, progressive taxation was distressing,” he said.
“Their McCleary funding package was a tax shift disguised as an education plan,” he added, comparing it to President Donald Trump’s recently approved tax plan.
This article has been changed to clarify that the property-tax increases quoted by the King County assessor are based on comparing the bills of median-valued homes this year to the bills of median-valued homes last year. The article also has been corrected. An earlier version inaccurately described impending property-tax increases in Federal Way, based on erroneous information provided by the assessor. In Federal Way, the assessor expects the owner of a median-valued home to see an increase of 11.5 percent, or $434, compared to the owner of what was a median-valued home last year.