On the heels of Seattle’s new “head tax” on large corporations, the city council is back again. This time with an eye towards increasing Seattle property taxes to help fund state education.
The ink was barely dry on Seattle’s new “head tax” on large corporations. One week removed from the measure, the city council in Seattle is back again with a proposal to increase Seattle property taxes.
Residents of King County (where Seattle is) are already paying roughly 17% more in property taxes this year compared to 2017. Now the city council is asking voters to weigh in on a measure that would increase Seattle property taxes.
City Council members say while the state funding property tax hike pays for basic education, the levy they want to be renewed will be an extra investment to ensure that kids from preschool to high school will have what it takes to succeed.
In a nutshell, the city is attempting to merge two existing tax levies. Basically, the city council wants to lift the limit on regular property taxes in order to levy additional taxes.
“This is really an important renewal effort for voters to consider,” Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez, co-sponsor of the measure.
The city has already used funds from property taxes to initiate programs that have befitted Seattle schools. Since 2015, the program has allowed affordable or free preschool to 850 families.
The current measure, which is believed to add about $5 per week to current homeowner’s property taxes, would potentially send 100’s more to preschool for free. The mayor’s office is also pushing for a free community college program.
What’s The Downside?
An estimated $5 extra per week may not seem like much. However, that does translate to an extra $260 per year in Seattle property taxes. The measure also comes on the heels of the controversial “head tax” levied last week which many residents opposed.
Many residents are wary of the new tax. They argue that it is just another way in which the city council is misusing city funds and mismanagement of issues facing the city.
“It’s not just homelessness. It’s the bike lanes and budget overruns, the Bertha tunnel, and the overruns on that, the First Ave streetcar and overruns on that,” Seattle resident Matt Dubin said. Dubin is a local attorney now running to become a state lawmaker this year. He says he is upset over city leaders squeezing out the middle class. “It’s making it impossible for the middle class to live in Seattle. If we keep going down this road nobody will be able to live in Seattle except for the very rich and the homeless,” Dubin said.
How Expensive is Seattle?
Seattle property taxes aside, living in Seattle is an expensive undertaking. While not the most expensive city in the country, Seattle isn’t far off. Depending on how it’s measures, Seattle typically falls “comfortably” within the top 10 least affordable cities in America.
This also comes on the heels of a recent survey in which King county residents cited “cost of living” as the worst part of living in the area.
Of course, there are a lot of factors which determine the cost of living in a city. Seattle property taxes are one such consideration. However, other state and local taxes have an impact. The cost and availability of housing is another factor.
Take a look at the video below as City vs City compares the cost of living in Seattle with another city, in this case Pittsburgh (which isn’t in the top 10 least affordable cities).
When comparing various cost of living expenses, it becomes clear that living in Pittsburgh is more affordable than Seattle. What may come as a surprise is just how much more affordable it is.
According to City vs City’s calculations, a resident of Seattle would need 37% LESS in pre-tax income to maintain the same standard of living in Pittsburgh. No trading steak for burgers either. The calculation accounts for maintaining the same, or similar quality of living.
What Is City vs City?
City vs City is a revolutionary new cost of living calculator. Users input their data and the app uses real, local information to calculate living expenses. City Vs City calculates cost at the zip-code level to determine an accurate and current look at the cost of living in your city.
For residents looking to escape rising Seattle property taxes, City vs City can show you your cost of living in Seattle and compare it with another city of your choosing. From the start, the goal of City vs City has been to answer one simple question: how much do I need to earn if I lived in another city in order to maintain my standard of living.
Of course, costs vary widely around the country. A one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, New York isn’t going to cost the same as a one bedroom apartment in Manhattan, Kansas. City vs City uses local data to determine how your cost of living would change if you moved elsewhere.
If you’re looking to move, don’t make a move before downloading the City vs City app first.