See the all-in-one-place breakdown of Seattle property-tax bills

That slide deck is from the agenda for a City Council committee meeting tomorrow morning, and it’s the first time we’ve seen an all-in-one-place visual breakdown of a subject that comes up in discussion often – property taxes.

The 9:30 am meeting is actually the entire City Council meeting as the Select Committee on the 2016 Housing Levy, and one of its agenda items is a general discussion on property taxes in the city, as they consider the proposed levy, which is double the one that’s about to expire. If you scroll through the slide deck – or get it here as a PDF – you’ll see that it looks at the taxes on a “median”-valued home in the city (half are worth more, half worth less), valued at $480,000, paying $4,553 a year. As shown on page 5, a little less than a third of that – $1,472 – is from/for the city, and in turn, about half of that goes to 7 voter-approved levies, including the housing levy that is expiring:

*Transportation levy, $279
*Park district levy, $140
*Families/Education levy, $98
*Housing levy, $61
*Libraries, $51
*Preschool, $43
*Campaign financing, $9

If you want to hear how this is presented and discussed tomorrow morning, you can go to the meeting at City Hall or watch live via Seattle Channel, cable 21 or

15 Replies to "See the all-in-one-place breakdown of Seattle property-tax bills"

  • Safety Officer March 31, 2016 (4:48 pm)

    VOTE NO!

    Homeowners are not Ed Murray’s ATM.

  • Goway March 31, 2016 (7:14 pm)

    Add the sound transit 3 levy and taxes will be outrageous. Btw I think using the 450k value for a home is very outdated. No more!

  • Free speech March 31, 2016 (7:18 pm)

    Many of us are being taxed out of our homes, while they have appreciated, they don’t generate cash to live on, hoping mr mayor recognizes he is destroying those of us who are on fixed budgets, but I guess he expects many of us to live in our cars in his parking lot neighborhoods, 

    shame on you Ed 

  • KT March 31, 2016 (7:48 pm)

    I am not buying that the “median” value of a home is $480,000.  Just a couple of weeks ago it was given in the Times or PI as over $600,000 now.  Nor do I care, and fail to see the relevance, what taxes & property values are in other towns/cities – at least until I am priced out of Seattle.  This is obviously Burgess’ attempt to smooth the passing of the new Housing Levy.   Yet still no explanation of how it is that Seattle is experiencing unbridled building and skyrocketing property valuations both of which should be swelling the city’s bank account and yet additional property tax levies are still needed.  

    • chemist March 31, 2016 (11:20 pm)

      That’s the assessed value, which can often be significantly below what a house sells for (particularly in this market).

      • wetone April 1, 2016 (11:00 am)

        That is what worries me, as the assessed value in most cases is lower than what homes are selling for. What happens when city starts re-assessing values to today’s sale prices ? It would be a huge financial hit for everyone.  

        • Question Mark April 1, 2016 (8:38 pm)

          Re: assessed values currently below sales prices and what happens as they rise toward current sales prices over time.

          Assessed values reflect a 3 year window, and the assessment for 2017 taxes (say) is January 2016 (and windowed back to January 2014). The newest component to each assessment is so old is because sufficient notice must be given to taxpayers in order for complaints to be lodged and adjudicated, and later to calculate the tax bill for each assessment area and eventually for each property, then bill appropriately.

          Secondly, an individual rise in assessment for a property doesn’t mean that the amount of tax will certainly rise. This is because the assessed value is compared with the total assessed value for each taxing district that overlaps for that property and that fraction is multiplied by the taxing authority for that district in that tax year.

          So even if your assessed value increases, if the net fraction compared to the total assessed value in a taxing district gets smaller (and the taxing authority of the district does not increase too much) then the tax for that property in that district will be smaller.

          Each property is in many taxing districts, so the overall effect is complex. The saving grace is that taxing authority for each district is limited by law and by what voters are willing to approve in special levies.

          So, no, property taxes won’t be going up in proportion to the coming increases in assessed valuation.

  • New thinking needed March 31, 2016 (9:16 pm)

    I like the comment from Free Speech.  They have it correct that “while they have appreciated, they don’t generate cash to live on, hoping mr mayor recognizes he is destroying those of us who are on fixed budgets,”

    Even though I am employed I have to live on a fixed budget. Higher property taxes and higher car registration taxes are not friendly to the working class home owner earning $50,000. Yes we are ‘lucky’ to own, or purchase a home over 30 years,  but it doesn’t generate income. And when I retire, if I sell my home, I still have to live somewhere…so it isn’t as if I will suddenly become a wealthy person by selling my home…

    The City needs to adhere to a tighter budget. 

  • Question Mark March 31, 2016 (10:33 pm)

    Another great resource from the King County Assessor’s office:

    Assessment, demographic and other data with summaries from county-wide down to assessment sub-area. Compare changes in your assessment to changes in median assessed value in any area, for example.

  • BL April 1, 2016 (10:35 am)

    If these levies pass there is no need to lobby for a state income income tax.

    I know state income tax doesn’t pay for some local stuff but if it paid for other stuff we would have more money for what it didn’t pay for, like what these levies are all about.

     Down with the most tax regressive system in the country! 

  • Ryan H April 1, 2016 (10:53 am)

    Well I’m going to throw out rough numbers here for the sake of argument, but when you have roughly 30% of employed people working for a city, county, state or federal government organization (yes fed % is only about 15%, but think about it)…AND you consider that this does NOT include contractors and the like who are being paid by the government (i.e. – Bertha dig, 520 project, yadda yadda)…how do you pay for such a ridiculous percentage of people making their salaries off of tax dollars?

    Raise taxes…and since everyone would love for you to think that a home owner is part of that fabled 1%…seems like the perfect target, right?

    I don’t understand how people fail to see the flawed logic in this plan and our continued growth and expansion of government and government programs.

  • Mickymse April 1, 2016 (11:30 am)

    Just because YOU own a single-family home, in a nice part of town, does not mean that everyone else in Seattle is living in a single-family home or in a nice part of town. Your taxes have been going up because the value of your home has been going up. My property taxes have barely budged in the last six or seven years. Don’t make the privileged mistake of assuming that what is happening to you is happening to everyone else.

    • P.Dieter April 1, 2016 (1:25 pm)

      the point Micky is that the appreciated value of my (everyone’s) home has nothing whatsoever to do with my ability to pay out more money to the government or anyone else. There is absolutely no logic or fairness to this tax.

  • heather April 1, 2016 (12:46 pm)

    I just went to Portland and boy are their roads well maintained and the landscaping along highways really quite beautiful and maintained. It’s been awhile since I visited and I was truthfully shocked at the stark difference between property tax vs personal income tax city infrastructure. Obviously there is so much more to consider when discussing those two options, and two very different cities, but I did notice a distinct difference in public maintenance. 

    A straight 8% personal income tax vs a property tax system are vastly different sums of revenue but based on the state of our roads, bridges, etc I do wonder if we need to reconsider our revenue source.

  • AmandaKH April 1, 2016 (1:16 pm)

    I would like an update on impact fees… Tom Rasmussen brought that to the Council last year… Where are they on making that a reality?

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