Des Moines property taxes up nearly 21% over 2017 – largest in south county

By Jack Mayne

Des Moines property taxes have gone up 20.66 percent for this year – the largest increase for any city in South King County – says a report from King County Assessor John Arthur Wilson.

Other King County cities fall somewhere in the middle. Kent’s increase is 15.4 percent, and Burien’s increase is 13.7 percent. Seattle’s tax increase is 16.9 percent,

In general, property taxes will increase because the Washington Legislature approved the new school financing scheme resulting from the state Supreme Courts’ so-called McCleary decision by the Washington State Supreme Court.

In Des Moines, the median price of homes went from $267,000 up to $319,000. That means property taxes on that median home increased from $3,735.90 last year to $4,507.66,

General increase of 17 percent
Wilson says that county property taxes will generally increase “about 17 percent on average this year, primarily due to additional taxes passed by the Legislature to increase funding for K-12 education.

“About 57 percent of property tax revenues collected in King County pays for schools. Property taxes also fund voter-approved measures for veterans and seniors, fire protection, and parks among other services,” Wilson says.

The biggest tax rate hit is in the east King County city of Carnation, where the tax rate skyrocketed 37.47 percent.

Legislature acts
The added reason for the hike is the fact that after years of being told by the Washington Supreme Court, the Washington Legislature had to respond to the court’s declaration that it was unconstitutionally supporting the common school.

In 2017, the Legislature wrote new tax code.

“The State Supreme Court ruled that the state must make new investments into public education; as a result the legislature added $1.01 per thousand dollars of assessed value, in King County, to their portion of property tax collection in order to fund the mandate,” says Wilson.

Low-income seniors, veterans and disabled homeowners may qualify for a property-tax exemption offered by King County. Information on how to apply for an exemption, along with other property-assessment-related information, can be found at Property taxes vary depending upon location, the assessed value of the property, and the number of jurisdictions levying taxes (such as state, city, county, school district, port, fire district, etc.).

With property taxes going up 16.92 percent on average, that means countywide property tax billings will be $5.6 billion in 2018, up from $4.8 billion last year. Aggregate property values in King County increased by 13.41 percent, going from $471.5 billion in 2017 to $534.7 billion in 2018.

To avoid interest and penalties, the first half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by April 30, 2018. The second half property taxes must be paid or postmarked by Oct. 31, 2018.

To view the full report, click here (PDF file).


2 Responses to “Des Moines property taxes up nearly 21% over 2017 – largest in south county”
  1. Harry Steinmetz says:

    I would like more explanation as to how much of this increase is due to increasing home values and how much is new/increased taxes. The article hints at it, but doesn’t fully provide an answer.

    • Tony says:

      Someone please correct me if I’m wrong, but…

      King county property taxes are not determined by a straight value percentage only, but by a percentage calculated by taking the total valuations of all properties divided by the revenue required. On average, the increases are supposed to be due to budget increases only.

      For example, if every property doubled in value, that does not mean that everyone would automatically pay double. If only one particular property doubled in value compared to everyone else, then yes, that would be a big problem for the owner.

Share Your Opinion

By participating in our online comment system, you are agreeing to abide by the terms of our comment policy.

...and oh, if you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!