Washington State’s tax code hurts families, and we can do better.
In the 2017 State budget, Republicans and Democrats agreed to the largest property tax increase in State history. This tax increase unfairly puts the burden of funding our schools and all other social services squarely on the shoulders of families that happen to own their own home. That issue is compounded by the fact that the tax is based off the assessed value of the homes, which have been skyrocketing, while wages have not gone up. All of that has lead to a tax burden that hurts families who own an asset they do not want to sell but must pay exorbitant sums to keep, all while having less buying power than ever before. And if they cannot pay the cost, they are forced to leave.
Despite the fact that we all benefit from robust public education, homeowners still are required to bear the brunt of the cost. However, just because someone owns a home, they are not necessarily “rich”. In fact, many people bought their homes while the market was low, and homes were affordable, and now they find themselves owing more than they could have ever imagined.
Instead Washington needs to adopt a tax that everyone pays into, based upon their ability, that can offer relief to families who want to stay in their own homes. By broadening the tax base, we can offer substantial relief to homeowning families, and additional relief to all tax payers. It is just a simple fact that when everyone pays into a tax, the burden can be lower. Whereas, when only a small number of people pay, they get squeezed. And in Washington, we squeeze them until they lose their homes.
At a time when homelessness and economic equity are two of the biggest issues we face, we need to find taxes that let us all rise together and build a better future. For both ourselves and our children.