LETTER: Local taxes are too high to vote ‘yes’ on levy now

As a Vashon progressive, I prefer to make decisions based on reliable data. For the local school levy I must vote by Feb. 13. Unfortunately, I won’t know how the increase in our state property taxes affects school funding until the current legislative session is over. King County will not mail my 2018 property tax information until Feb. 14.

I searched the King County website and found a link to my 2018 property taxes. That information has been removed. I called the county and was told that there were errors in the data and they removed it. I suspect most of the data was correct, but no taxes were listed for noxious weed control, King Conservation District, or surface water management.

Using the best available information, my property tax changes from 2017 to 2018 are: Schools +5.6 percent, State Taxes +67.9 percent, Roads +6.9 percent, Fire District +87.2 percent, County Taxes +12.2 percent, and other items resulting in a total property tax increase of +23.6 percent.

Your numbers may differ based on the assessed property value of your home. Mine went up 16.9 percent this year.

My wife and I live on a fixed pension from Boeing (unchanged since 1995), our combined Social Security checks and savings. Since 2005, when we both began to receive Social Security, our property values have increased by 44.5 percent, our property taxes by 52.5 percent, but our incomes by only 16.3 percent. Where does this lead?

We want great schools, but this vote is too early. We plan to wait until more information is available. Let’s support a levy in November when the real need is known. You must decide, but until then, we are a “no.”

— Melvin Mackey

School district information was deceitful about levy

I support the school district’s proposed EP & O Levy and encourage all islanders to do the same. That said, it is disturbing the school district would include a misleading estimated costs table in its Soundings newsletter.

Any student taking AP calculus, and most of the students in freshman algebra, would agree the table contains facts that are meant to deceive the voters. The second column indicates estimated levy income to be $4,343,912 in 2018, increasing to $5,274,470 in 2022. However, the fourth column indicates the tax on a “$500,000 house” will remain at $750 from 2018 to 2022.

In realty, the school district is projecting that “a $500,000 house” will be worth $607,000 in 2022 so it can collect $910, not $750 and increase its income from $4,343,912 to $5,274,470.

This levy should be passed, even if its cost will increase by 21 percent over the next four years. While I would expect such number games from Sound Transit, I mistakenly believed our school district was above misinforming the voters.

— Scott Harvey

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