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Eye On Olympia

Gregoire calls special session: Nov. 29th…

Saying that the state has no assurance that all local governments will comply with her request to keep their 2008 property-tax increases below the now-unconstitutional 1 percent limit, Gov. Chris Gregoire has called a one day special session “to deal solely with property taxes.”

“I believe we can easily enact the necessary legislation during a one-day session,” she wrote tonight to Senate Majority Leader Lisa Brown, House Speaker Frank Chopp, House Minority Leader Richard DeBolt and Senate Minority Leader Mike Hewitt.

Interestingly, Gregoire is sending them TWO proposed bills: One would reinstate the 1 percent property tax limit (Initiative 747) that the Supreme Court threw out Nov. 8.

The other “will provide a property tax deferral for all families under our state’s median income level.” (Median household income in Washington for 2006, according to the state budget office: $56,807.) If both pass, it’s unclear from the letter what effect the latter might have on state and local coffers.

In a brief interview earlier tonight, Brown, D-Spokane, said that she hoped the session’s talks would be broader than simply reinstating the 1 percent cap.

“There are concerns about whether or not we’re really providing relief to the people who need it most,” she said. Although there are exemptions and deferrals for senior citizens, she said, those don’t touch younger families struggling to afford a home.


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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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