“While the state’s coffers continue to benefit from years of excessive revenue surpluses, and a property-tax increase is not needed at the state level, I realize some local governments are in desperate need of additional revenue.”
By Randy Bracht, The Center Square
Problem: Local governments in Washington state say they need more money to address affordable housing, public safety and other inflationary costs.
Solution? Give cities and counties a bigger share of the state’s liquor and cannabis tax revenues.
That’s the proposal of state Sen. Keith Wagoner (R-Sedro-Woolley) who has introduced two bipartisan bills as a counter-measure to calls by some Democrats to triple annual property tax increases to 3 percent from the current 1 percent limit.
“I’ve seen a lot of bad ideas in Olympia, but raising property taxes and rents during a housing-affordability crisis may be one of the worst—and the cruelest,” Wagoner said in a news release. He serves on the Senate Ways and Means Committee, which handles tax and budget policy.
“As I heard repeatedly as a member of the Tax Structure Work Group, increasing property taxes disproportionately affects lower-income renters, as property-tax increases are inevitably passed along in the form of higher rent,” Wagoner said, contending that Washington ranks fifth-worst in the nation in housing affordability.
“Tripling the rate of annual growth of property taxes would only add more costs and make homeownership an even…