On November 8, Washington voters approved Sound Transit 3, a historic expansion to existing light rails that will bring mass transit to cities across the state including Everett, Ballard, Tacoma, Issaquah, and Kirkland. Though it will take almost a decade until the 116-mile system is completed, state residents will be seeing the property tax necessary to finance the $54 billion project sooner. In a recent article in The Seattle Times, Gene Balk hypothesizes how non-property owners will be impacted by the tax.
Balk writes that while landlords occasionally swallow tax increases out of fear of their renters moving to a nearby, un-taxed neighborhood, the reach of this property tax will make moving elsewhere not a viable option for many people in King, Pierce, and Snohomish counties.
“In a multicounty area, increasing the property tax on rental properties — a large share of that tax increase will be borne by the renters, not the landlords,” Adam Langley, a senior research analyst for the Lincoln Institute of Land Policy, said in the article.
While there’s no one way to calculate possible rent hikes, Balk looked at King County data to find average property taxes around Seattle neighborhoods, from newer Denny Triangle apartments to older buildings near SeaTac. He estimates that the individual unit cost increases would “range from a high of about $10 per month to a low of $2 per month.” A price many might be willing to pay to no longer sit in traffic during their commute.
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