In recent weeks there have been letters, articles, a postcard and election material contributing to our “informed consent” for upcoming issues. There’s been a great deal of comment on needs and benefits, but little on overall cost. Briefly, the legislature increased our state levy to $2.79 per $1,000 for “education” (McCleary). Last year it was $2.12 so we’ll pay $0.67 more for the state. The school district wants an additional $0.11 for athletic fields and $0.29 for repairs and improvements. And another group wants $0.75 for a hospital district. Total tax increase if all measures pass: $1.82 per $1,000 of assessed value.
According to Zillow, the median Eastsound home value is $454,300 so we’re looking at a tax increase of $827 a year. Put another way, median housing costs will increase by $68 a month that must be paid as a direct tax, or indirectly through increased rents further impacting housing affordability. This year on the mainland license tab fees shot up to support voter-approved transit expansion: people are outraged and demanding a do-over. So each of us needs to clearly understand the cost consequences, cast informed votes and be ready to pay the bill!