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Home of Bezos and Gates only has self to blame for going broke

Bill Gates Medina home. (Derek Purdy, Flickr Creative Commons)

Recent reports indicate that Medina, home to some of Washington’s wealthiest moguls in Bill Gates and Jeff Bezos, is running out of money. But the town known as Washington’s Gold Coast may very well have itself to blame.

Medina — home of Gates and Bezos — is running out of money

According to The Seattle Times, Medina is projecting a $500,000 deficit in 2020, and $3.3 million by 2025, largely driven by exceedingly low tax rates on some of the most expensive homes the region has to offer. That being so, KIRO Nights co-hosts Gee Scott and Aaron Mason don’t blame the tech moguls as much as the city enabling them to not pay their share.

“You know what? I ain’t mad at [Jeff] Bezos and Billy [Gates],” Scott exclaimed.

“Maybe I’m not mad at those guys, because who’s going to go, ‘I want to pay a lot more money for something,'” Mason agreed. “I do blame Medina because they’re operating at a deficit.”

Right now, residents of Medina pay 64 cents for every $1,000 worth of assessed value on their homes, the lowest rate in the state. For comparison, Bellevue pays 92 cents, while Redmond pays $1.15.

So how can it avoid disaster?

“This is an easy fix,” Mason points out.

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The city has a proposal on the table now, increasing its property tax rate to 84 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value, with an additional 5 percent increase each year. If Medina fails to get that passed, though, things could get dire.

“If it doesn’t pass, then they’re going to start cutting some things,” Mason described. “They’re talking about the harbor patrol enforcement, some lifeguards, and the refreshment budget for city related meetings among some other things.”

“So no more steak and eggs at your morning Medina meetings,” he joked.

Listen to KIRO Nights with Gee Scott and Aaron Mason weekdays from 7-10 p.m. on KIRO Radio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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