Two recent tax increase levies have been strongly rejected. That is, 41 percent in favor and 58 percent against for a utility tax increase for more police officers and a similar defeat for higher property taxes to help maintain fire services.
Those in favor of both, for the most part, will be found to be renting apartments, and those against property owners.
Let’s face it, renters, with the same size families as homeowners, on average, only contribute about one-third of the property tax “revenue” paid by homeowners. Renters do not pay property taxes. They reimburse their landlords for taxes paid by the landlord.
Here is the key: on average, an 800-square-foot apartment generates only about one-third the tax generated by a 2,400-square-foot, single-family residence, yet both families enjoy all the same services provided by the city and county; schools, police, fire, roads, parks, etc. Apartments contribute one-third the revenue of single-family homes but enjoy all the same benefits. This is wrong.
We need to dump property taxes as a means of supporting government and schools and go to a more equal system where each resident living in Kent, King County, etc., pays an equal amount for those services. We all pay the same rates for electricity, gas, water, sewer, etc. Why the disparity on taxes? And to make matters worse, more unfair, the Kent City Council is encouraging more and more apartment developments (500 apartment units on the old par 3 course, where no more than 20 single-family homes would fit, causing even more disparity between taxes paid by single-family homes and apartments).
And, as a final insult, the City Council routinely gives apartment developers a property tax waiver.
– Brent Benson