Property owners might get relief from tax they didn’t vote on

Bills would bar Sound Transit from levying its property tax on anything less than a whole parcel.

OLYMPIA — A vexing problem for owners of property straddling the Sound Transit taxing boundary is once again getting attention from lawmakers.

These owners are required to pay the property levy approved by voters in 2016 to help fund the expansion plan known as Sound Transit 3.

But they didn’t get to vote on that ballot measure because the portion of the parcel they live on is outside the district.

On Wednesday, bills barring Sound Transit from levying its property tax on anything less than a whole parcel located entirely in its taxing district were discussed in two legislative committees.

It’s not a new conversation.

In the 2017 session, Rep. Mark Harmsworth introduced House Bill 1958 to assist property owners. The bill passed the House three times only to lapse in the Senate.

On Wednesday, the House Transportation Committee revived his legislation, amended it to iron out a wrinkle regarding its implementation, and advanced it toward another vote.

Also Wednesday, the Senate Transportation Committee held a public hearing on its similarly worded version, Senate Bill 6475. Harmsworth and Snohomish County Assessor Linda Hjelle testified in support.

Passage of the 2016 ballot measure allows collection of 25 cents per $1,000 of assessed value to help finance the $54 billion expansion known as ST3. It also triggered a half-cent rise in sales tax and a 0.8 percent hike in the excise tax rate used in calculating car-tab fees in the district encompassing parts of Snohomish, King and Pierce counties.

There are 52 affected properties in Snohomish County and others along the transit agency boundaries in King and Pierce counties.

In Snohomish County, transit agency boundaries generally follow city limits and urban-growth boundaries in unincorporated areas. Some neighborhoods were built after those lines were drawn in 1996, resulting in a handful of properties straddling the boundary.

Hjelle said her office must treat the portions of land inside and outside the Sound Transit boundary as separate parcels, thus resulting in the owners receiving two tax statements

“It is a big impact to these property owners,” she said.

Harmsworth said this is an issue of taxation without representation that can be resolved with the legislation.

No one testified against the bill.

The last scheduled day of the legislative session is March 8.

Jerry Cornfield: 360-352-8623; jcornfield@herald Twitter: @dospueblos.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Mel Jennings sits in his structure during a point-in-time count of people facing homelessness in Everett, Washington on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023. Mel has had a brain and spinal surgery, and currently has been homeless for a year. (Annie Barker / The Herald)
Annual homeless count aims to give snapshot of housing crisis

Volunteers set out into the rain Tuesday to count all the people facing homelessness in central Everett.

Catherine Berwicks loads ballots into a tray after scanning them at the Snohomish County Elections Ballot Processing Center on Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020 in Everett, Wa.  (Andy Bronson / The Herald)
Lawmakers push to boost voting in county jails across the state

A House bill envisions an approach similar to what’s been happening in the Snohomish County Jail for several years.

Vandalism at Seaview Park on Jan. 21, 2023 in Edmonds, Washington. (Edmonds Police Department)
Police seek suspects in repeated vandalism at Edmonds parks

Vandals have done over $10,000 of damage to parks across the city, including suspected arson and graffiti with hate speech.

One worker looks up from the cargo area as another works in what will be the passenger compartment on one of the first Boeing 787 jets as it stands near completion at the front of the assembly line, Monday, May 19, 2008, in Everett, Wash. The plane, the first new Boeing jet in 14 years, is targeted for power on in June followed by an anticipated first flight sometime late in 2008.  (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Boeing workers long-exposed to carcinogen far above legal limits

The company confirmed in depositions that parts of its Everett plant still don’t meet 2010 standards.

CarlaRae Arneson, of Lynnwood, grabs a tea press full of fresh tea from Peanut the server robot while dining with her 12-year-old son Levi at Sushi Hana on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, in Lynnwood, Washington. CarlaRae said she and her son used to visit the previous restaurant at Sushi Hana’s location and were excited to try the new business’s food. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Peanut the robot waitress is on a roll at Lynnwood’s Sushi Hana

She’s less RoboCop and more Rosey as she patrols the restaurant, making sure everyone has a drink and good time.

Traffic moves along Highway 526 in front of Boeing’s Everett Production Facility on Nov. 28, 2022, in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / Sound Publishing)
Boeing settles with Everett security guard claiming chemical exposure

Holly Hawthorne was assigned to Building 45-335 at the south end of Paine Field, while employees used aerosolized chemical sprays nearby.

A section of contaminated Wicks tidelands on Thursday, Jan. 19, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
Port acquisition marks next step in toxic cleanup on Everett waterfront

Private owners donated land near the contaminated Wicks Tide Flats to the Port of Everett. Cleanup work could begin within the year.

FILE - In this photo taken Oct. 2, 2018, semi-automatic rifles fill a wall at a gun shop in Lynnwood, Wash. Gov. Jay Inslee is joining state Attorney General Bob Ferguson to propose limits to magazine capacity and a ban on the sale of assault weapons. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)
Democrats advance assault weapons ban, new rules for gun buyers

The measures passed a House committee without Republican support. They are part of a broader agenda to curb gun violence.

Herald publisher Rudi Alcott
A note from the publisher

The Daily Herald publisher Rudi Alcott discusses our new publishing schedule and newspaper delivery by mail.

Most Read