McAuliffe helps lead the charge to eliminate state property tax
OLYMPIA--Senate Democrats approved a 5 percent cut in the state property tax during the first week of the 1996 legislative session.
"Last year, we passed a nearly identical property tax relief bill only to have Gov. Lowry veto it," said state Sen. Rosemary McAuliffe, D-Bothell, co-sponsor of the bill. "We promised then that we would take action on tax relief the first week of the 1996 session. Today, we kept that promise and laid the foundation for getting the state out of the property tax business altogether."
McAuliffe said the state's share of property taxes will be cut by 5 percent in 1996, but that more importantly, the bill is aimed at eventually eliminating the state's share of property tax. To achieve that goal, some or all of the revenue exceeding the spending limits set by Initiative 601 would be used to gradually reduce the property tax.
"This year, homeowners will see only a modest reduction," McAuliffe said. "But in future years, homeowners will see substantial savings."
State property taxes account for about one-third of all property taxes collected by the various taxing districts. According to McAuliffe, elimination of the state's portion of the property tax would save the owner of a $150,000 home about $500 a year.
McAuliffe serves as Senate Education Chair, and assured people that even though their property tax bills will be reduced, school funding will not be affected. "This property tax relief bill was carefully crafted to ensure that over time, school funding would not be adversely affected," McAuliffe said.
B & O tax rollback
McAuliffe also co-sponsored a successful bill rolling back the business and occupation tax (B&O), which gives service businesses such as architects, beauticians, and janitorial services cuts totalling $34 million this year and an additional $98 million next year.
Both tax-cut bills are on their way to the House for consideration and will take effect immediately if they win approval from the House and are signed by Gov. Lowry.