Sticker shock awaits some King County property owners

KING COUNTY, Wash. — King County property tax bills are in the mail, and there will be sticker shock for some when the mails are opened.

The King County Assessor Office reported 2021 property taxes in Algona have jumped 18%. And in neighboring Pacific, the 2021 property tax bill will jump 13%.

“It’s forcing the locals out — the people who’ve lived here their whole life,” said Jared Malet, who’s lived in the area his whole life.

While in general, there is a 1% limit on the increase in property tax revenues, voters can opt to exceed it.

“Roughly, 43% of your property tax bill is driven by voter-approved levies,” said King County Assessor John Wilson.

For example, voters approved two big levies to support the Auburn School District. Wilson said that’s what’s behind the big jump in property taxes in Algona and Pacific.

King County voters passed a $1.7 billion measure to expand and enhance Harborview Medical Center.

That’s contributing to a general countywide property tax increase of 4.03%.

“The problem we have, fundamentally, is with our tax structure — that we rely so heavily on property taxes,” Wilson added.

In fact, Wilson said King County pays 47% of all the property taxes Washington state relies on.

Still, in Seattle, property tax bills are slightly down 1.45%.

Though, that’s no consolation at all for those in the many places in King County, where property tax bills will be higher.

“It’s bad on a lot of people, especially during a pandemic, and people can’t afford food and other things, and all these other taxes and everything coming up. It’s not good,” said Travis Wilcox.

King County offers payment plans and tax relief in some situations. There are details on the county’s websites: https://www.kingcounty.gov/depts/assessor/TaxRelief.aspx and Payment plans - King County

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