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

Spokane City Council approves property 1% tax boost

The Spokane City Council on Monday voted to collect an additional 1% in property tax revenue. The city, nearly every year, collects the additional 1% allowed by state law.   (Christopher Anderson/The Spokesman-Review)

Spokane will raise its property taxes again next year.

The City Council on Monday voted 6-1 to increase next year’s property tax levy by 1% from the year prior, adding nearly $665,000 to the city’s 2024 budget, which is anticipated to be around $1.2 billion. Unlike last year, when Mayor Nadine Woodward vetoed the property tax increase – a veto later overturned by the City Council – the mayor’s office has said that the tax increase is necessary to help balance the city’s budget.

Spread out among the city’s property owners, the boost will cost a few dollars for most. Property taxes for a $400,000 home, for instance, are projected to cost about $7.80 more next year as a result of Monday’s vote, according to Spokane Chief Financial Officer Tonya Wallace.

Washington law allows local governments to collect 1% more through their regular property taxes every year without requiring a vote of the people. For instance, if Spokane had taken $100 in 2022 through its regular property tax, it could take $101 in 2023.

The council’s decision only changes the city government portion of local property tax bills, which is relatively small. For many property taxpayers, the largest portion of their property taxes goes to schools.

Spokane Valley’s elected officials in October declined to raise the property tax levy for the 15th year in a row, arguing that taxpayers already struggle financially.

Spokane City Councilman Michael Cathcart voted against the increase, citing similar concerns.

“I know people are really struggling right now,” he said.

Cathcart noted that voters will be asked next year to increase their property taxes to support additional services from city libraries and parks, as well as the Spokane School District, and potentially in support of law enforcement.

“Those could be clouded, I think, by adopting this 1%,” he said. “I think that there’s some real needs in those other proposals, particularly in the parks, that I would like to see very successful.”