In a press conference on Wednesday, Senator Doug Ericksen spoke with media about his proposed $1 billion tax cut to provide relief for Washingtonians who are facing steep increases in property taxes this year.
When the legislature passed EHB 2242 last year to put the state in compliance with the Supreme Court’s McCleary decision, they relied on major property tax reform to fund basic education. By creating a statewide flat-rate levy, and phasing out local district levies, lawmakers estimate that by 2019, 73 percent of tax payers will see a net decrease in their property taxes.
However, the timeline is slightly askew. State property taxes are already rising dramatically in 2018, and reform to local district levies won’t take place until 2019. In just King County, tax payers can expect a 9 to 31 percent spike in their 2018 property taxes.
Ericksen says that since passing the budget last year, Washington has collected over $1 billion in unexpected additional tax revenue. His solution is to take the extra revenue and return it to tax payers to get through this year.
“It makes absolutely no sense to raise a billion dollars of property taxes on Washingtonians this year when we’re seeing records of amounts of dollars flowing into the state treasury,” said Ericksen.
“The proposal is simple. A billion dollars of tax relief this year, and next year we’ll go to the plan that we all agreed to.”
On Wednesday night, during a debate on education financing bill SB 6352, Sen. Ericksen offered up this solution as an amendment. However, the amendment failed by a 25-22 vote.
“We had an opportunity tonight to deal with this problem once and for all,” Ericksen said. “We could have done it without raising taxes, and provide relief to people who are struggling under the crushing burden of taxes. It is disappointing that our colleagues do not appear to recognize the gravity of this problem.”
Though the amendment failed, his bill is still alive and is waiting to be heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee.