Fortunato introduces property tax constitutional amendment

Recent changes in the state’s property tax, added pressures from local tax levies and rising home values mean more people are struggling to pay their property taxes. That is why state Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, and the Senate Republican Caucus are pushing to amend the state’s constitution to restructure Washington’s property tax aimed at relief for homeowners.

Modeled after California’s successful Proposition 13, Senate Joint Resolution 8219 would freeze property valuations as of Jan. 1, 2020, and not be recalculated until there is a change of ownership.

“The state has seen record growth in its budget at the expense of taxpayers around the state. We’ve reached a point now that is unsustainable for the very people that fund government and they need relief,” said Fortunato. “Not only are people unable to afford getting into a home, they’re quickly being taxed out of them. During my time in the Senate, the state has raked in billions more than we expected and spent it all on everything but what Washingtonians are clamoring for – tax relief.”

Fortunato’s proposal is aimed at helping people stay in their homes by capping the growth of property taxes paid to the state to a more affordable point when the home is purchased.

“By changing our constitution this way, we are giving homeowners certainty they deserve. It will put a check on out-of-control spending and do what the Legislature has been unwilling or unable to do,” Fortunato said. “The sad thing is that some decision makers in Olympia can’t be trusted. I voted for historic funding changes to our schools that gave over 70% of property owners a tax cut, only to have the majority betray that and fling the door wide-open to additional tax increases. That’s unacceptable. We should enshrine this principle of fiscal restraint in our state’s constitution.”