KING COUNTY, Wash. — Editor's note: The above video on Eastside property taxes originally aired May 12.
King County Executive Dow Constantine is proposing an increase in property taxes to improve the county's ability to protect open spaces such as forests, trails, rivers, farmland and urban greenspace.
Constantine's proposal for the November ballot would, if approved by voters, cost the owner of a median-value home less than $2 more per month, according to the executive's office.
The tax hike would fully restore funding to the Conservation Futures Program by 2023. The Futures Program preserves open space, urban greenspace, and more. The tax hike would accelerate the Land Conservation Initiative to protect 65,000 acres of open space within 30 years, according to Constantine's office.
The proposal needs to be approved by the Budget and Fiscal Management Committee before the King County Council can vote on whether to put it on the November ballot.
"This is our generation’s moment to protect the last, best places – forests, trails, rivers, farmland, and greenspace – before they are lost forever,” said Constantine. “By accelerating land conservation throughout King County, we will confront climate change by protecting mature forests, improve habitat for native salmon, strengthen our local food economy, provide more recreational opportunities, and ensure more equitable access to the outdoors.”
More than 100,000 acres of open space has been protected since King County began participating in the Conservations Futures Program in 1982. Today, the program generates about half the revenue originally authorized by voters, according to Constantine's office.
At least some King County residents already face higher property taxes as property values on the Eastside rise. As of Jan. 1, home prices are up 52% on the Sammamish Plateau, roughly 45% in places like Kirkland, Redmond and Bellevue, and higher than 30% in Bothell, Kenmore, North Bend and Fall City.