Letter to the Editor: Property tax bill is a 24% increase

Friday, February 23, 2018

To the Editor:

Last Saturday a property tax notice arrived from the KC Assessor's office for 2018 on my small east Shoreline fixer upper. This $4322 property tax was is a 24% increase compared with 2017. This amount is equal to my total annual food budget PLUS my total annual utility bills. These three expenses are almost one third of my annual income for 2018. I did not do any of the necessary repairs on my house in 2017 b/c I was still paying off such repair bills incurred in 2014 and 2015. While I qualify for a Senior exemption it is not clear how much that will reduce my property taxes b/c that is determined by the KC Assessor's office.

I also recently received a happy letter from 32nd LD Rep. Cindy Ryu providing information on what she worked for in the legislature. This includes not only education but also subsidized housing for those who cannot find affordable places to live in Seattle. With both property taxes and utility rates rising, I wonder if I will be able to stay in my house (which I have been paying on for 21 years) while subsidizing other's housing. It appears to me that our three Democratic legislative ladies think that our private purses are theirs to spend without consideration of the costs and consequences to their constituents, citizens and voters.

The Republicans are right on this issue. The higher the taxes the less money people have to spend on often necessary goods and services, including higher health care bills. When one recalls that our economy thrives because of consumer purchases, loss of income because of higher taxes is not good for the economy as a whole. That also means that there are fewer jobs because consumer purchases keep others employed. And people's income is not elastic for the most part. Higher taxes are not a solution to social problems.

I wish our Democratic legislative ladies were able to do cost/benefit analyses, as my junior level CC students learned to calculate in my Sociology classes.

Gini Paulsen


SA February 24, 2018 at 10:08 AM  

The Republicans are wrong on this issue. Well I agree with you that a 24% increase in your property taxes is horrible, the Republicans refused tax reform on a state level. Their idea is only to cut taxes. And not give us an income tax which would lower your property taxes and lower all of our sales taxes. Until we have meaningful tax reform we will continue to have a regressive tax that punishes the poor and middle class and rewards the rich.

Anonymous,  February 24, 2018 at 12:24 PM  

Yes, the property tax increase is a shocker! It is a result of the WA Supreme Court decision to fully fund education. The legislature was found to be abrogating its constitutional responsibility. Your situation is exactly the reason why we need a state income tax. The revenue stream would come from those more able to pay.

Ruth February 24, 2018 at 1:17 PM  

Amen!! Our little post-war, one bathroom fixer upper was given a tax bill of a little over $5000.00. We are soon to be taxed out of our home we have had for 22 years. By the way, where are we supposed to go?

Anonymous,  February 24, 2018 at 4:11 PM  

Haha! Blue state tax blues. Vote for tax and spend politicians get taxed out of house and home.

herrbrahms February 25, 2018 at 3:17 AM  

Gini, my heart goes out to you in this tough position. Please keep in mind that everything I say here comes from a place of kindness.

You live in what is now an expensive city. Seattle City Light charges way too much for what should be cheap hydropower, and it only gets worse when you live in Shoreline. You pay an inflated rate to the city of Seattle to make up for tax that they aren't collecting on you, while Shoreline is happy to collect that tax instead. You pay nearly $60 a month just for sewer. You pay for the most expensive tap water by volume in the nation. And now this property tax hike.

Understand that Shoreline is sprouting houses because Seattle is out of land and is overflowing with money. People who are priced out from the city -- or maybe they have a couple of kids and value the reputation of Shoreline Schools -- are moving north into your neighborhood. They're bringing their $100K - $300K annual incomes with them. They don't care about their *own* property tax bills, much less yours, and when the school district puts out its hand for more money, they vote to extend our local taxes right up to the levy limit by a 2 to 1 margin. Never mind that the district has no idea whether they'll actually need that money once the state dollars start to flow.

Many of these new residents aren't even aware of the property tax hike yet. They'll only notice in a few months when their mortgages reset upwards by a couple hundred dollars per month to pay for it. When it does, they'll shrug and say, "my kids are worth it."

I took a look at your house online. You have a modest 1400 sq ft house on a nice 7500 sq ft lot. Unless you will the house directly to a descendant who then lives in it, your house is actually not a fixer, but a teardown. Some builder will acquire your lot and put a 3000+ sq ft McMansion on it like your neighbor to the north.

If that is the ultimate fate of your house, why shouldn't you profit from it? I think you should sell, take the $450K, and go buy a place somewhere quiet for half of what you net. You'll have to replant that nice garden, but you'll be sitting on six figures in the bank and be a lot more financially comfortable. Meanwhile, some wealthy couple with young kids will move into a new house on your land, complete with quartz countertops, and start paying their $6000 mortgage.

I would join you myself, but our household is too tied to the city for work to get out right now. You can try to sandbag this rising river and end up getting flooded anyway, or leave for higher ground.

Whatever you choose, all the best.

Dan Adams

Anonymous,  February 25, 2018 at 10:44 AM  

Ya, let's get an Income tax. Do you think the will lower the other taxes after that? You are dreaming. Wake up people.

Anonymous,  February 26, 2018 at 5:32 AM  

Thank you Gina!!! You are SPOT ON!!!! Ours is just as RIDICULOUS and our house that we've been paying on for 39yrs NEEDS maintenance that unfortunate!y ISN'T going to get done any time soon as living on a fixed income DOESNT allow us to to so at this time due to this mess!!!!
I'm REALLY TIRED of these politicians NOT having to stay within a budget and thinking that we are THEIR PERSONAL BANKS!!!!
I SURE wish I could just fix my modest budget by taking what I WANTED from someone else!!!!!��������������

Anonymous,  February 27, 2018 at 11:44 AM  

The value of your home has also increased considerably. You'll make it up in the end.

Anonymous,  February 27, 2018 at 12:58 PM  

I'll bet many of you wish you had voted YES for the education tax on those making over $250,000 that was floated a couple years ago.

Anonymous,  February 27, 2018 at 3:10 PM  

>Ya, let's get an Income tax. Do you think the will lower the other taxes >after that? You are dreaming. Wake up people.

This is spot on.

herrbrahms February 28, 2018 at 9:43 PM  

"The value of your home has also increased considerably. You'll make it up in the end."

Not if she stays in the house for the rest of her life.

Anonymous,  March 2, 2018 at 5:27 AM  

My one bedroom rental went up 28%. There are 4 comparables within 6 blocks. I own 2 of the 4 ONE BEDROOM houses. I am being taxed double the average on my "improvements" because I installed some vinyl windows and painted and kicked ants out. I have done zero else. These houses were all built in 1948. Have exact same floor plan and EQUAL amounts of moss on the roofs. How Much next year especially if I re-roof one of them? INSANE / INANE - KEEP VOTING DEM CAUSE THEY ARE DOING A SPECTACULAR JOB!

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