So, it turns out homeowners often see their property taxes rising faster than I-747’s one percent limit on existing construction.
In the seven years since voters statewide slapped a 1 percent limit on the annual increase in regular property taxes, plenty of homeowners have seen their taxes rise a lot faster than that.
Geez… I guess voters must be pissed. Looks like we might have another property tax revolt brewing, right? Um… maybe not:
[T]he biggest reason is voters themselves: They’ve shown a notable willingness to support tax increases put before them on the ballot, which are exceptions allowed to the 1 percent cap.
Holy crap… how the hell did that happen?
“When voters consider these things, their passage rate is pretty high,” King County Assessor Scott Noble said.
In November, Seattle voters approved two “lid lifts,” which are proposals to increase property taxes beyond the 1 percent annual limit, or lid: One will raise $73 million over six years for repairs to Pike Place Market, and the other will generate $146 million over six years for improvements to parks, playgrounds and museums. Together, the two measures will add $125 to the annual tax bill of the owner of a $450,000 home.
But that’s just a couple of property tax levies… you know… a bunch of goddamn, ungrateful renters voting to raise taxes on their landlords. The majority of folks would never vote to raise taxes on themselves…
Beyond that, voters in the urban areas of King, Pierce and Snohomish counties agreed to an increase of 0.5 percentage points in their sales tax rate to finance the expansion of Sound Transit’s light rail system. Although not subject to the same kind of cap as property taxes, most local sales tax increases also require voter approval.
And in recent years local voters also approved a host of other property tax levies, plus a sales tax increase to fund expanded bus service, while statewide voters overwhelmingly rejected repeals of both the estate tax and a gas tax increase. So I’m guessing by now our politicians are starting to get the message…
Jan Drago, a 15-year veteran of the Seattle City Council, said she was surprised that all three of those tax increase proposals won voter approval.
That’s because Drago spent too much time listening to conventional wisdom, and not enough time listening to actual voters. Still, in hindsight, she pretty much nails it:
But she said, “If you present a problem and a solution, and articulate the problem and the solution, Seattle voters are very generous.”
That’s right… voters are willing to tax themselves to pay for the government services and infrastructure they want, if they believe they’re going to get the services and infrastructure they’re being asked to pay for, and at a reasonable cost.
So before the Democratic majority in the Legislature agrees to slash funding for K-12 and higher education, simply because there’s no alternative, they might want to consider whether, if they asked voters for a little more money for these popular services, voters might actually say “yes”?
You know, it’s not like your Republican opponents aren’t going to run against you accusing you of raising taxes, regardless of what you do.