OLYMPIA…Sen. Ann Rivers, R-La Center, offered this comment after learning a proposal to allow local governments to raise property taxes without voter approval has been abandoned by majority Democrats in the Senate.
Senate Bill 5770 would allow a local property-tax rate to climb up to 3% annually with only a vote of the local council. Its prime sponsor, a Seattle Democrat, told The Washington State Standard that the bill is now “dead” for this session. Rivers was part of the united Republican opposition to the bill in the Senate Ways and Means Committee on Monday, but 13 Democrats moved the measure forward; it was placed on the Senate voting calendar Wednesday.
“This is great news for property owners and renters across our state, but the reality is, this bill never should have been introduced. If local governments can make the case that they need more revenue than the 1% cap allows, they are free to ask voters to approve a higher rate. There is zero justification for making it easier to raise property taxes without voter approval.
“We should be looking at ways to make living in Washington more affordable, and this bill goes completely in the other direction. The prime sponsor did the right thing by dropping the idea for this year, but I suspect it will be back again. We need to stay on guard and uphold the will of the people who set this limit in the first place.”