Washington tax bill may force retiree out of Seattle home

Feb 21, 2018, 3:20 PM

Don and his wife have put years and a lot of themselves into their dream Seattle home. With the latest Washington tax bill, however, they may have to wake up from that dream.

“We’ve been fortunate,” Don told KIRO Radio’s Dori Monson. “Both of us worked 30-some years. I’m 56. My wife is 58. Initially, we paid $300,000 for the piece of property; almost 21 years ago. We struggled to buy the home. We had to get an 80-10-10 loan … and the home was a 1942 home.”

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At one point, the couple essentially rebuilt the house. Since 2012, Don’s Seattle property value has jumped from $806,000 to $1.561 million. That’s partially why his property tax bill has gone up from $17,393 in 2017, to 22,523 this year — a 30 percent rise.

While the property turned out to be a good investment — when it comes to its value — the couple remained on a fixed income over the years. Don lost his job about three years ago, forcing him into semi-retirement. He was in the transportation industry — freight and warehousing. His wife was in a similar field, but has since moved into real estate.

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On top of that Don has medical conditions that require surgery, so he won’t be going back to work soon. But that’s what he will likely have to do under rising Washington tax bills. And beyond that, they may lose the home.

“We have some savings and retirement accounts and we are going to burn through that,” Don said. “We thought we would be closer to bridge the gap to getting social security benefits. It looks like that’s not going to be the case. We are probably going to have to go back to work at some point, if I can. Or we’ll sell the house.”

Don does note that much of his taxes seem to be going to things like the McCleary decision that has ordered lawmakers to fully fund K-12 education.

“They are also making us pay the legal bills for defending Ed Murray, and the likes of Kshama Sawant, and so on,” he said. “They are basically throwing our money away.”

Hear Dori’s full conversation with Don here.

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