Eye On Olympia

Property taxes: despite their complaints, voters are okaying more...

Although 2001's Initiative 747 limited property tax increases to 1 percent unless voters agreed to more, they're apparently agreeing to more.

Statewide property tax collections on existing properties rose 5.7 percent ($414 million) last year, as voters agreed to tax themselves more than the 1 percent limit.

The increase is "chiefly due to a large number fo voter-approved tax increases, especially levy lid lifts for fire districts," the state Department of Revenue said today, releasing its annual compilation of property tax statistics.

All told, according to the revenue department, state and local property tax collections rose 7.1 percent in 2007, to $7.73 billion a year.

A significant chunk -- about 20 percent -- of the $515 million increase over 2006 was due to new construction, which isn't counted toward the 1 percent cap.

Here are the totals, by county:

Spokane: up 5.5 percent
Whitman: up 5.4 percent
Ferry: up 14.2 percent
Stevens: down about 1 percent
Pend Oreille: down 3.7 percent
Garfield: down 14 percent (biggest drop in the state)
Columbia: up 22 percent (biggest increase in the state)
Adams: up 1.4 percent

The statewide average property tax is now $10.48 per $1,000 of assessed value.

The assessed value of all property, including new construction -- rose about 16 percent, to $740 billion. Single-family homes accounted for 68 percent of that.




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