No windfalls here

I’m writing in response to Darrel Hambley’s letter regarding property tax (“Tax increases: Be careful about wording,” Nov. 27). He, like many others, assumes that an increase in the assessed value of a home means an increase in the taxes received by the government. It’s a common belief, but it’s not true.

When property is reassessed the amount of taxes paid by individual taxpayers may change, but the amount paid by all taxpayers (and received by the city or county) stays the same. The reassessment alone does not increase the revenues one cent. The tax rate per $1,000 of value is adjusted downward to maintain the same revenue for a city.

Why then do taxpayers’ bills generally go up after an assessment? There are several reasons. First, Snohomish County reassesses property every four years. When your home is reassessed, taxes are shifted from the three areas which are not reassessed to property in your area. For the next three years the shift works in your favor.

Second, residential property has been gaining value faster than many commercial properties. That means the shift goes from commercial to homeowners. Third, when more seniors apply for low income discounts, the tax is shifted onto those who do not get the discounts. Fourth, voters approve levies, bonds, and other increases. Fifth, jurisdictions do increase taxes.

The key point is that reassessment, by itself, results in no increase in revenues for a city or county. I and the other members of the Mountlake Terrace City Council have worked hard to hold down property taxes in the last few years. But it’s important that taxpayers understand that reassessment does not mean higher revenues for Mountlake Terrace or any other local government. We have not been getting windfall property tax increases.

Mountlake Terrace

Talk to us

More in Opinion

Editorial cartoons for Sunday, Feb. 5

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Herald columnist Julie Muhlstein received this card, by mail at her Everett home, from the Texas-based neo-Nazi organization Patriot Front.  The mail came in June, a month after Muhlstein wrote about the group's fliers being posted at Everett Community College and in her neighborhood.  (Dan Bates / The Herald)

(Dan Bates / The Herald)
Editorial: Treat violent extremism as the disease it is

The state Attorney General urges a commission to study a public health response to domestic terrorism.

Demonstrators gather during a protest in Times Square on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2023, in New York, in response to the death of Tyre Nichols, who died after being beaten by Memphis police during a traffic stop. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)
Comment: Special police units an invitation to abusive tactics

To crack down on street crime, Memphis and other cities allow officers to use excessive force.

Don’t dig hole any deeper; vote yes for Marysville schools

Apathy and lack of support has consequences. Misunderstandings and digging in heals… Continue reading

Herald bet on wrong horse with postal delivery

The post office delivery of The Herald is working for me. I… Continue reading

Your support helps Kitty Young Auxiliary aid county’s youths

On behalf of Kitty Young Auxiliary (a part of Assistance League of… Continue reading

Editorial cartoons for Saturday, Feb. 4

A sketchy look at the news of the day.… Continue reading

Photo Courtesy The Boeing Co.
On September 30, 1968, the first 747-100 rolled out of Boeing's Everett factory.
Editorial: What Boeing workers built beyond the 747

More than 50 years of building jets leaves an economic and cultural legacy for the city and county.

Marysville School District Superintendent Zac Robbins, who took his role as head of the district last year, speaks during an event kicking off a pro-levy campaign heading into a February election on Thursday, Jan. 5, 2023, at the Marysville Historical Society Museum in Marysville, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Editorial: Voters have role in providing strong schools

A third levy failure for Marysville schools would cause even deeper cuts to what students are owed.

Most Read