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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Total Spokane County property tax bill will top $800 million in 2023, up 6% over last year

 (Molly Quinn/For The Spokesman-Review)

When the weather gets warmer and the days grow longer, it can only mean one thing.

Tax season is just around the corner.

The Spokane County Treasurer’s Office mailed out property tax statements last week. First-half payments are due April 30 and second-half payments are due Oct. 31.

Countywide, taxpayers will owe $818 million in 2023, a $48 million (6.2%) annual increase. Spokane County property tax collections have risen $239 million (41%) over the past five years.

New construction, voter-approved levies and rising property values all play a role in the upward property tax trend.

Of the $48 million increase, state school levies account for $13.4 million. Spokane Public Schools will get an additional $10.6 million compared to the year before, and the city of Spokane will receive an additional $10.3 million.

Roughly 60% of the average Spokane County property owner’s bill goes to schools. Most of the remainder goes to city and county governments, fire districts and libraries.

Many homeowners will see their 2023 tax bills rise by hundreds of dollars.

In the city of Spokane, homeowners will be sending a large chunk of those dollars to the school district.

The city itself is collecting more tax revenue this year too, in part due to an emergency medical services levy voters passed in April.

Only a tiny fraction of this year’s property tax increases can be traced back to decisions made by county or city politicians in 2022.

The Spokane County Commission in November, for the second time in the last decade, opted against a 1% property tax increase. The unanimous move saved the median homeowner about $7 and cost the county government less than $700,000.

The Spokane Valley City Council voted unanimously to continue its 14-year streak of not taking the 1%. It was a $131,000 blow to the city’s $100-plus million budget and it kept an extra $3 in the average homeowner’s wallet.

The Spokane City Council chose to take the 1%, in a 5-2 vote, with council members Michael Cathcart and Jonathan Bingle voting against it. The 1% increase will bring the city an additional $650,000 in revenue and cost every homeowner a few dollars.

Spokane County Treasurer Michael Baumgartner and Spokane County Assessor Tom Konis will answer taxpayer questions during a town hall at 6 p.m. on March 22 at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture’s auditorium. 

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to remove incorrect information about how school levies work in Washington.