LETTER: Careful when voting for propositions, taxes and bonds

Most elections give voters the opportunity to decide whether to increase their property taxes.

Property owners pay taxes on both the state and local levels.

And, for your information, property taxes are paid by everyone — homeowners and commercial property owners, of course.

But don’t forget to add renters and customers into that group — because increased property taxes are passed along to you.

In Washington state, you do not have the luxury of a “predictable property tax.”

The state constitution requires that property owners become a cork in the ocean, subject to the whims of the real estate market, which cares not if you are on a fixed income.

With the latest property valuations, property owners have seen their property values increase, in some cases dramatically.

The real estate market is strong now, so you can expect more where that came from — as property must be assessed at “fair market value.”

For argument’s sake, suppose two houses or properties are identical in every way.

Mr. A bought his house 30 years ago.

It’s now paid off and he’s retired.

He paid $100,000, and his taxes and fair market value have increased since then.

Mr. B just purchased his house.

He’s in his prime and he’s years from retirement.

He paid $500,000 for an identical property.

Mr. A’s assessed value must now be increased to $500,000 (the fair market value).

And he will be forced to pay taxes on that value.

Not fair.

So, word to the wise:

Be careful what you wish for when you vote on propositions, levies and bonds.

Shelley Taylor,

Port Angeles