Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Bill to Reinstate I-747 Property Tax Limits Fails to Make It Out of Committee

Not a surprise really. Remember, Whitman County was the only Washington county to join in the lawsuit that overturned I-747.

From a press release yesterday by State Rep. Ed Orcutt:
Rep. Ed Orcutt said Democrat legislators failed to reinstate the taxpayer protection created by Initiative 747 by deciding not to pass House Bill 2117 out of the House Finance Committee today.

Orcutt, Republican leader on the House Finance Committee, is co-sponsoring House Bill 2117, which contains the same language as his House Bill 1170.

"HB 2117 had been moved to the finance committee's voting list after we had a public hearing on it. Because they deliberately removed it from the list, I made a motion today in committee to put it first on our voting calendar. I believed that because this bill has such strong bipartisan sponsorship it should move forward," said Orcutt, R-Kalama.

Taxing districts could raise their regular property tax levies up to 6 percent annually without voter approval until Initiative 747 passed in 2001, which lowered the limit to 1 percent without voter consent. The tax limit saved approximately $1 billion before it was struck down by a Seattle judge on a technicality in June 2006. A stay was granted later to reinstate the law while the case is on appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"The Legislature needs to reinstate this law rather than leave the whole matter up to the court," said Orcutt. "It is time the Legislature protected the taxpayers rather than wait and see if the courts would. Taxpayer protections shouldn't be left to chance."

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