Overkill: vote ‘no’ on school measures

On Feb. 13, we vote on two new local school tax levies. These are known as Kent School District, Propositions No. 1 and No. 2. These two levies total $94,000,000. The Kent School District says these levies replace two existing levies that are expiring and cost less.

They failed to explain that there is already a King County property tax that was approved and is going into effect at the same time. This is the State Legislature’s McCleary response to the State Supreme Court’s order for the state to providing adequate education funding.

While the stated goals of these tax increases all appear to be desirable – teacher and staff salary increases, supporting additional educational programs and operational expenses and the ability to make technology and capital improvements.

But here is what results:

King County property taxes increase by 15.4 percent in Kent. On a home with an assessed valuation of $285,000, property taxes increase from $3484.11/year (2017) to $4020.59/year in 2018. The King County bill generates more than $200 million from 2018 through 2021. (Ref: King County Assessor)

The Kent School District No. 415, Propositions 1 and 2 levies adds $641.25 annual tax onto the same $285,000 house. While these levies may be a reduction for the ones that are expiring, the Kent School District No. 415 Propositions 1 and 2 will generate an additional $239 million to the education coffers from 2019 through 2024. They do add to the overall tax bill everyone has to pay. (Ref: King County Special Election Ballot)

Add to this the Sound Transit RTA tax increase that already doubled our license tab fees. And who knows what else will be deemed necessary by our state, county and local governments in the coming years.

This is what our elected officials are asking us to bear. It’s not only homeowners that will feel the pinch, but those who are renting apartments, homes or condos. That tax increase will be passed on because the landlord is not going to just absorb it himself. For many retired or disabled persons, who are on fixed incomes, this may force them to move out of the area.

I am urging everyone to vote no on these propositions. With the increase in state funding, are these really necessary? I’m not against supporting public education. This just seems like “overkill.” There is little protection for the taxpayer if we fail to enact our right to vote.

– Dennis Cole

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