“Washington Legislators Propose Increasing Real Estate Taxes Amidst a Housing Crisis”
– Jo Ann Johnston, CEO – Clark County Association of REALTORS®
Vancouver, WA – Washington is in the middle of an extreme housing crisis that the legislature has failed to address for many years. Washington ranked 50th in the nation in housing units per family at the beginning of the year. In an attempt to address the effects of the housing shortage, the Legislature has made housing their top priority this year and is working on a large number of housing bills. Unfortunately, one of those bills is HB 1628 which proposes to increase the Real Estate Excise Tax on all properties with a larger increase on properties over $5 million. The proposal would increase the taxes on Clark County homeowners by over $23 million annually. Raising taxes is not the solution to creating affordable housing. You can’t make housing more affordable by making it more expensive.
Both the House and the Senate Capital Budgets have historic levels of investment into the Housing Trust Fund and housing services, all without increasing taxes or fees on Washingtonians. Between the numerous policy bills that would modify zoning, reduce regulations, and streamline review processes and the record-breaking investments proposed in the Capital Budgets, there is no need to increase REET. Increasing REET now would not only push the costs of homeownership higher but would increase the cost of commercial and multi-family buildings, which in turn drives up rent. We all agree that we need to go big on housing, and Washington needs a large amount of money to do that. The Governor’s housing bond referendum would dedicate that large amount of money that we need, without increasing Washingtonian’s taxes. The House Operating Budget already budgeted out the funds needed to repay that bond if it were to pass.
The legislature is taking steps forward through smart housing policy decisions, don’t move Washington backwards with a REET increase.