Stevens County prepares for higher state school taxes starting 2018

S-E Staff Reporter

Residents living in the Colville School District can expect lower taxes come 2019

Come 2018, taxpayers all over Washington state will notice a change in their property tax rates as the state works to fund public education.

In order to fully fund public education, this year the Washington State Legislature passed a two-year budget for $43.7 billion that called for increases in property taxes, as mandated by the Washington State Supreme Court. The 2007 lawsuit, McCleary v. State of Washington, argued the state was not fulfilling its constitutional obligation to fund public education, which the courts agreed. In 2012, the Legislature was ordered to come up with the funding for public education and to fix the current funding system. The justices ruled, “Pouring more money into an outmoded system will not succeed.”

The result was a $6.6 billion dollar increase in the state budget for public education over the next four years, starting in 2018.

Stevens County Assessor John Olson said the Department of Revenue has already given assessors instructions on how to proceed. And while the exact impact in Stevens County is unknown “the bottom line is the state school levy is going up.”

There is no guaranteed what the tax rate will be until all county assessors finalize and certify all property values, which will happen in January or February, but based on averages, Olson has an idea of what taxpayers should prepare for.

Read the full story in the Nov. 1, 2017 edition of the Statesman-Examiner, available online here Tuesday afternoon.