Burien property taxes up 18% over 2017; but city will get only 1% more


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By Jack Mayne

Burien property taxes are going up more than 18 percent this year, but don’t blame the Burien city government – blame the Washington Legislature for approving the new school financing scheme resulting from the state Supreme Courts’ so-called McCleary decision.

King County Assessor John Arthur Wilson says on his website that county property taxes will increase “about 17 percent on average this year, primarily due to additional taxes passed by the Legislature to increase funding for K-12 education.

“About 57 percent of property tax revenues collected in King County pays for schools. Property taxes also fund voter-approved measures for veterans and seniors, fire protection, and parks among other services,” Wilson says.

South King County also boasts the wealthy of Normandy Park has the lowest property tax growth rate, 9.06 percent. Wilson said that the homes in the wealthy community have maintained their previous values and so there was a small change.

Tax increase percentages of nearby communities have gone up more than Normandy Park. Des Moines property taxes are increasing almost 21 percent; SeaTac up to nearly 19 percent, Kent is up 15 percent and Tukwila up 17 percent.

The biggest tax rate hits was for the east King County city of Carnation, where the tax rate skyrocketed 37.47 percent.

In Burien, the median cost of a home was $289,000 but that increased $48,000 to a median home cost of $337,000 in 2018. Taxes on that valuation went from $3,9ll to $4,618 this year, or an increase of 16.61 percent.

Burien analysts say “the total property tax rate for 2018 of 13.70330 has increased by 1.26 percent over the 2017 rate of 13.53235. This rate includes the levies from all taxing districts in Burien. The city’s tax rate for 2018 is 1.23516, down from the 2017 rate of 1.36228. For 2018, the city’s portion of the total tax is approximately 9 percent.

“The City expects to collect approximately 1 percent, or $76,000, more in property taxes in 2018,” says a city staff memo given to The B-Town Blog.

First, the price of your home and your property is going up with inflation, but that was the old news.

The added reason for the hike is the fact that after years of being told by the Washington Supreme Court the Washington Legislature had to respond to the court’s declaration that it was unconstitutionally supporting the common school.

Legislature wrote new tax code
“The State Supreme Court ruled that the state must make new investments into public education; as a result the legislature added $1.01 per thousand dollars of assessed value, in King County, to their portion of property tax collection in order to fund the mandate,” says Wilson.

Some city officials have said this increase could increase the number of homeless in Burien if poorer residents are unable to pay the added taxes.

Assessor Wilson agrees.

“We know that property taxes can be especially tough for those on fixed incomes,” said King County Assessor John Wilson, adding his department has been “aggressively reaching out to seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners with the property tax exemption program.”

Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for a property-tax exemption offered by King County. Information on how to apply for an exemption, along with other property-assessment-related information, can be found at kingcounty.gov/assessor. Property taxes vary depending upon location, the assessed value of the property, and the number of jurisdictions levying taxes (such as state, city, county, school district, port, fire district, etc).

With property taxes going up 16.92 percent on average, that means countywide property tax billings will be $5.6 billion in 2018, up from $ 4.8 billion last year. Aggregate property values in King County increased by 13.41 percent, going from $471.5 billion in 2017 to $534.7 billion in 2018.

To avoid interest and penalties, the first half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by April 30, 2018. The second half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by Oct. 31, 2018.

To view the full report, click here (PDF file).

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