If I don’t say so myself…

In the past 20 years, the property tax rate in Washington, and its burden as a percentage of personal income, have been quite stable.

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

In fact, I did say it myself, as quoted Sunday in an excellent editorial in the Columbian: “Eyman’s hand is out.”

Not only did I say it, but I can back it up. I have recently posted to TaxSanity.org a preliminary report “The truth about property taxes in Washington state.” The study points out that while Tim Eyman is correct that property taxes have increased from $1 billion to $6.25 billion since 1980, he is absolutely yanking voters’ chains by calling the increase “obscene.”

When you put the numbers in historic and economic context, you find that property tax rates, and total state and local tax burden have not only remained stable, but are actually below historic highs and the national average. This is because property taxes have closely tracked property values and personal income.

Despite Eyman’s lies, it is no secret that Washington is not a high tax state. Indeed, the state Office of Financial Management reports that in 2002, Washington was 31 out the 50 states in aggregate state and local taxes as a percentage of aggregate personal income.

Of course, none of us actually live in the aggregate and due to our astonishingly unfair tax structure (the most regressive in the nation) tax burden is too high on most middle- and lower-income households. The bottom 20% pay over 17.6% of income in state and local taxes while the top 1% pay only 3.3%.

Rather than across the board tax cuts, what we really need is tax reform that has all households pay their fair share. And for the majority of households, their fair share would be lower than they are paying now.


  1. 1

    Jon spews:

    Thanks for this analysis, which confirms what I had suspected, which is that the actual taxation rate hasn\’t increased substantially in the last few years. I really wonder if Eyman realizes that the increase in the amount of taxes paid is good in that it shows the growth of the local economy and property rates. I read on Eyman\’s site an email from a person in Woodinville complaining about what he paid in property taxes in 1980 as compared to today. What I wanted to ask this guy was \”Yes, but how much has your house appreciated in that time, and what is the actual rate of taxation in 1980 compared to today?” Oh, well, those are just annoying questions which would require inconvenient answers.

  2. 2

    Goldy spews:

    Jon, it\’s not clear to me what Eyman truly understands about our tax structure… how much of his rhetoric is based on lies, or based on ignorance. Neither is it clear to me that Eyman cares, as he seems willing to use any rhetoric he can to promote his anti-government agenda.