Property Tax Hikes Causing Many to Flee Seattle, King County
Due to decisions by the legislature to fund schools using increased property taxes, hundreds, if not thousands, of King County residents are selling their homes and getting out.
According to the Seattle Times, the Legislature approved in 2017 a plan to use property tax increases to help meet the requirements of the McCleary Decision. That's the controversial State Supreme Court decision that says the state is violating it's Constitution by not 'fully funding' public schools.
The legislature, in an effort to meet those demands, raised property taxes and shifted the funding for schools. Statewide, they raised the property tax-levy for schools from $1.89 for every $1,000 of assessed value, to $2.70. When you couple that with skyrocketing home values and increasing land prices, the result is big jumps for homeowners. West side land and home values are skyrocketing, says the Times. So when you have that occurring, property taxes jump.
On average, the Times says property taxes rose about $800 for King County residents. The percentage of increases varies depending upon school levies as well. The Times says property taxes in King County have increased 43% in four years. in 1998 King County brought in $1.7 billion from them, this year it's expected to reach $5.6 billion.
Many of those affected are seniors, disable, or retired persons, especially those on fixed incomes. Others include middle to lower income families who own a home, but can't afford tax hikes that often exceed the $800 average. Many are either relocating to 'cheaper' communities in the county or outside King County altogether.