Democrats last-minute push to raise property taxes will hurt Washingtonians

With one week to go in the 2023 legislative session, majority Democrats in the Senate are pushing a last-minute effort to increase state and local property taxes. Senate Bill 5770 would raise the more than 20-year-old 1% cap on the growth of state and local property taxes to 3%. The bill is nearly identical to an earlier bill that died in the Senate and a House version parked in the Rules Committee since February.

“This is a tone-deaf move by Democrats that will hurt everyone in the state,” said Rep. Chris Corry-R, Yakima. “Inflation has forced Washington residents to cut back on everything, and many already struggle to stay in their homes due to average property tax bills above $6,000. Raising property taxes will push some of them out of their homes – exactly the opposite of what we are trying to do.”

The 1% cap on property taxes was approved by voters in 2001 under Initiative 747 and later approved during a special session of a Democratic-controlled Legislature in 2007 after the state Supreme Court invalidated the I-747 law.

“Republicans have been calling for tax relief for the past several years – specifically property tax relief – because we hear from our constituents struggling to meet their everyday needs,” said Corry. “This increase is a tidal wave of destruction for those families.”

Senate Bill 5570 was dropped last Wednesday, which should have been cutoff for most bills to have passed out of both chambers. However, because Senate Democrats included state property tax in the bill – which impacts state revenues – it is considered necessary to implement the budget and, therefore exempt from the cutoff. Because it was introduced on that day, it also fell just outside of a constitutional provision requiring a two-thirds vote of the Legislature to introduce bills in the final ten days of the session.

“If this bill passes, it will further exacerbate our housing affordability crisis – making Washington state even more unaffordable than it already is,” said Corry. “How Democrats in the Legislature can argue the state needs even more of the taxpayer’s money when we have seen surplus revenue for years is beyond me – and the same is true for the state’s largest cities.”


Washington State House Republican Communications