The February election is well underway and many King County residents are voting on a number of school levy measures, which are property tax increases that go towards the school district in a particular area. However, voters are casting their ballots before they even receive their 2018 property tax bill, which won’t be mailed until mid-February. When voting on levies, it is extremely important for voters to know just how much they will be paying in property taxes before they can make an informed decision on the measure. How can we expect voters to make a decision on school levies when they don’t even know how much they will be paying in property taxes beforehand?

Last month, voters across King County received their ballots for the February election. In this election, 16 school districts in King County have put levy measures on the ballot. While having levies on the ballot is very normal for this time of year, the issue is that voters were being asked to vote on these measures before they even knew how much their property taxes would increase for 2018. Across King County, property taxes are increasing sharply as a result of the state Legislature’s plan to fund education, and homeowners should know exactly how they are affected before having to vote on school levies.

Isn’t it important for voters to understand how much their property taxes will increase before voting on school levies? By not mailing out property tax bills until mid-February, King County Assessor John Wilson has kept information from voters that could influence their decision on school levies across the county. Our office has been notified about a law that requires property tax numbers to be published after the first election of the year; that law needs to change.