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Property tax bills to shoot up for state education funding

Property tax bills to shoot up for state education funding. (KOMO News)

TACOMA, Wash. - Homeowners around the state are about to see huge hikes in their property tax bills - as payment comes due on the state's new fix for education funding.

In King County, property taxes will shoot up an average of $700 over last year. The bill in Snohomish County will go up $600. Pierce County will see an average increase of about $330. Relief is predicted in 2019, but this year property owners around Washington are up against a double whammy of taxes and levies.

“This is probably a start to it and I betcha in a couple years it won't fix the problem and they'll probably hike it up again,” said Harrison Marler, who moved into his Tacoma home three years ago.

Marler supports more funding for public schools, but says the steep property tax increase this year pulls money away from other things his family needs.

State lawmakers approved the higher taxes for homeowners to satisfy a state Supreme Court order to fully fund education. That deal includes a cap on local school levies that kicks-in for 2019, which lawmakers said will help offset this year's hefty tax jump.

“I'm okay with it,” said Logan McClinton, another Tacoma homeowner. “I don't feel like our property taxes here are super high.”

Those higher tax bills should start showing up in mail boxes around the state by mid-February.

County assessors say they've been receiving a lot of questions and complaints on this issue in recent weeks.

“So we're trying to alert people, make them aware that there is going to be a sizeable increase," said Mike Lonergan, the assessor-treasurer for Pierce County. “2018 is the worst year. we can hope and look forward to some relief in 2019."

However, Lonergan said that relief may not amount to much depending on other levies that get approved. In Pierce County, several fire districts plan to ask voters for more money. Other agencies could put bond measures on the ballot.

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