July 31, 2000
Pockets will be picked again next year
Well, they did it again. The bureaucrats have decided to pick our pockets again next year. Last year Washington State property taxes increased over ten percent and next year the increase will be even higher.
It seems that each time the federal government reports the economy is thriving, spending increases; the cost of real estate increases and property taxes increase. The only problem with this scenario is that those who can afford it set the pace, and those who can't fall further behind. Couples trying to purchase a home, who can't afford it, decide either to wait or commit themselves to a blind, uncertain future; while elderly on a fixed income eventually are forced to sell and leave their homes or to mortgage their future to state by deferring their property taxes.
The people of Washington State are in need of property-tax relief, and eventually someone, younger and healthier than I, will initiate a property-tax proposal to provide relief.
The politicians realize this and that is why they continue to raise property taxes; they are trying to collect and spend all they can now. They also realize the higher property taxes are when it does happen, they stand to lose less, with a higher monetary base from which to work.
In 1973 California was in the same predicament we in Washington are today, and after years of trying, they voted in Proposition #13. The good thing about this proposition is that taxes are assessed against property according to what it cost at the time it was purchased and not according to what the current market value is. It is fair in that one can't be taxed out of their homes because their income is lower than average or, because it is fixed by a retirement pension. On the other hand, it is unfair to current buyers in that they are forced to pay a higher, unfair tax.
What we need in Washington is a property-tax plan which provides the benefits of Proposition #13 and which will also provide new buyers a fair and equitable tax which is not based on current market value arising out of our throw- away economic success.
It appears to me that many of our state government's policies have been copied from California and other states, and they are meeting the same opposition and failures they did. The needs and problems of each state are a little bit different and require different approaches to solutions. We have lost too much respect for our government, but then, respect is a two-sided street.
Max Ankele, Woodinville