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Washington taxes are trickling down into renters’ pockets

LISTEN: Washington taxes are trickling down into renters' pockets

It may be arguable if tax breaks trickle down the economic ladder. But it’s certain to one landlord that Washington taxes are trickling down to his renters.

“I try not to pass all of it on all the time, but the way things are going, there’s not going to be any choice,” listener Norm told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “… It’s going to come directly out of their pocket.”

Related: Snohomish County lawmakers bracing for 27 percent rise in property tax

Norm rents out a couple of identical homes in Shoreline, built in 1948. He admits the houses aren’t fancy. The 600-square-foot homes have seen few upgrades, such as some new windows. At $900 a month, Norm is offering a rare affordable housing option in the Seattle-area. But that’s not going to last long. He lost one renter in January after he raised the rent to match rising costs. That renter had to move out of the state. Norm is worried about his second tenant now.

“I could cover it by probably adding $60 a month, but more likely I would add $100,” he said. “… if we are going to keep going like this, pretty soon I’ll be renting it for $1,300 a month.”

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The rise is because Washington taxes on property have experienced a considerable rise this year. Both of Norm’s houses went up in value. One went up 17 percent, and the second shot up by 28 percent.

“It’s insane what’s going on – 28 percent is ridiculous, especially for a low-end property,” Norm said.

“I had to use my calculator 10 times to make sure I wasn’t getting it wrong,” he said.

That 28 percent on a low-income home is going straight to the renter.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are telling property owners to wait before paying their full property tax bill. The Everett Herald reports that legislators are working to relieve some Washington taxes before the session ends on March 8. That relief would affect current property tax bills. Property owners won’t get any over payments back, however, if they pay before that potential relief passes in Olympia.

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