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BIAW members help kill property tax increase

February 12, 2024

BIAW members Christina Janis and John Erwin joined Senate Minority Leader John Braun, R-Centralia, and others last week in urging legislators to reject a new property tax increase.

At a Feb. 8 news conference at the state Capitol, Janis, Erwin and others talked about how the proposed property tax increase would affect Washington families. Increased property taxes result in higher rents, hurt current homeowners struggling to stay in their homes and push home ownership even further out of reach for Washington families, they said.

“When we talk about increasing property taxes, it’s a trickle down effect,” said Erwin. “Homeowners who have rentals will have to increase rent…I hope everyone will oppose this increase in taxes.

Erwin is past president of the Olympia Master Builders (OMB) and owner of John Erwin Remodeling, Inc.

“I find it disheartening lawmakers say we need affordable housing, yet they keep layering on new taxes, energy codes and regulations that increase housing costs,” said Janis. “If you really want affordable housing, you need to stop layering on… and telling us it’s our fault we don’t have affordable housing.”

An OMB Professional Women in Building council member, Janis is OMB Secretary and an agent/broker for Epic Realty/Rob Rice Homes.

By Feb. 9, sponsors of the bill declared it dead for the session.

“This is a win for the people of Washington,” Braun said. “SB 5770 could have resulted in the largest property tax increase in our state’s history – without a vote of the people. This bill is overwhelmingly unpopular. People can’t afford a 3% annual increase in their property taxes. And renters can’t afford another tax that could push them out on the street.”

No need for property tax increase

SB 5770 would have increased limits for local property tax increases without voter approval from 1% to 3%. It would have raised up to $12 billion over the next 10 years, depending on the version of the bill advancing.

Voters approved the 1% limit on property tax increases in 2001 under Initiative 747. More than 57% of Washington voters approved the initiative.

Local governments needing additional revenue for services or public safety may still raise property taxes beyond the 1% limit. They must simply take their proposal to the ballot for voter approval.

Counties on average have increased revenues by 5.7% every year over the last decade. Inflation has only increased on average by 2.4% each year as measured by the Consumer Price Index.


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