Voters will decide on November 6 whether to approve yet another education levy in Seattle.
The Seattle Families, Education and Preschool Levy aims to extend and raise roughly $620 million for early childhood education and other programs. It has the backing of Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan, and the Seattle City Council.
If approved, the levy is expected to increase property taxes on a median home by roughly $20 per month.
It’s another big ask for property owners who already saw their tax rate increase last year because of the legislature’s McCleary legislation. Approval would lead to another hike in 2019.
The Seattle School District is looking to extend two other levies in February, which could raise rates again.
“The McCleary decision and what the legislature did, we figured roughly 67 percent of this year’s increase was solely due of what the legislature to fund K12 education,” said King County Assessor John Wilson. “Combined with the way real estate values have gone up, it’s kind of a one-two punch.”
Wilson acknowledges his office has received numerous calls, especially from Seniors who say property taxes are impacting their way of life.
“Certainly, the property tax is front of mind issues for a lot of taxpayers,” Wilson said.
Last week, Wilson’s office created a portal that allows property owners to check their individual property taxes, which for many, include 10 different pots. The portal, called the “Tax Transparency Tool,” will also show what you would pay with the approval of the Family Ed Levy.
“Finally, you get to see in dollars and cents, not how many lattes or pizzas it is, not the mythical median house, what's it going to mean for my house,” Wilson said.
While not arguing the merits of this levy, Wilson does wonder when there will be tax fatigue, noting “the property tax is getting to a point where it is just not sustainable.” He believes there should be an examination, or “rebalance” of the tax system.
“Renters tend to think they don’t pay property taxes, surprise, you do,” he said.