Some lawmakers say property tax relief passed by Legislature is not enough

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- Last minute votes couldn’t come fast enough in an atmosphere some lawmakers say has never been so partisan.

“The least transparent, possibly, has the most gimmicks,” Rep. Cary Condotta said.

Gimmicks or not, many in Washington are clamoring for property tax relief. While other big issues like car tabs and gun laws seemed to be going nowhere, property taxes is a different story.

“What’s going back to the people are $400 million,” Rep Kristine Lytton said.

With a booming economy, the state is in good financial shape accruing extra funds.

So Lytton wants to dip into savings to lower property taxes that went up significantly for many to pay for education.

“I hear from a lot of senior citizens that worry like my parents that they will have to depend on their kids,” Lytton said.

It’s not just senior citizens worried about property taxes. Q13 News spoke with a West Seattle homeowner who bought her home 20 years ago. In that time, her property taxes have climbed in the thousands.

“Was waiting, going to the mailbox, how much is going to be? how much is it going to be?" Michelle Pierone said.

High property taxes along with a hot housing market has Michelle considering selling her home.

“Just this past year it went up by $700,” Pierone said.

But Lytton says relief is coming.

The Legislature late Thursday approved the one-time property tax cuts for 2019 on the last day of 2018’s legislative session.

She says it’s a reduction of 30 cents per $1,000 in assessed value.

That means a median King County home will save $169 on average and in Pierce County the savings will be about $93 a year.

But Rep. Cary Condotta is frustrated the relief doesn’t kick in until 2019.

Condotta says if the economy slows down next year, the promised tax relief could be in jeopardy.

“My bill was set up to use existing funds and do it this year,” Condotta said.

But with property tax bills already mailed out to homeowners, many Democrats were concerned about the logistical implications.

Condotta says Republicans like himself were excluded from budget discussions.

Lytton says if the state continues to reap financial profits, she will try to find other ways to lower taxes even more in the next legislative session.