Well, apparently we must be making some progress in our efforts to pass a Property Tax Homestead Exemption, because this year there was actually some organized opposition against it. Various real estate and rental industry associations put in some effort to turn up before the House Finance Committee and testify against the bill. And of course, so did the Association of Washington Businesses (AWB).
The AWB is ideologically pure. They emphatically and consistently oppose raising taxes. On businesses. But they could care less about individual taxpayers, for the fact that property tax burden has been steadily shifting onto the backs of low-income homeowners is apparently okay by them. Suggest for a moment shifting some of the burden back to where it was just a few years ago, and apparently every business in the state will close up shop and move to Nevada. Blah, blah, blah.
The rhetoric of the other opponents was a bit more persuasive, if disingenuous. The fact is, a Property Tax Homestead Exemption would shift some taxes to rental properties. Opponents argued that we’re going to force low-income renters out on the streets. That’s a load of crap, but you can be sure I’ll be asking the Rental Housing Association to testify on behalf of the Low-Income Renter Tax Credit bill I plan to whip up. Then we’ll see how selfless their testimony really was.
I’m not necessarily confident that we have much of a chance of getting this bill through committee this year, but it gives us the opportunity to request more information from the Department of Revenue, and continue to make the argument for progressive property tax relief. The legislative process can be excruciatingly slow, and while it might be tempting to take Eyman-like shortcuts, I’m not stupid or arrogant enough to believe that I can sit down and write a piece of tax legislation all by myself without room for collaboration and improvement.
Besides, I kind of enjoy tilting at windmills. And there certainly is an awful lot of wind in Olympia.