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March 20, 2018

3/2/2018 11:27:00 AM
Tribe and school funding

Counting exemptions, the Swinomish Tribe will collect $1,926,535 in taxes from the 950 homeowners in Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned during 2018. The levy rate is 13.0988 per thousand, up from 12.3923 in 2017. The school levy went from $2,521,789 in 2017 to $2,754,295 in 2018.
The schools should receive a contribution of $789,577 to pay their fair share for educating the kids in Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned. But, the schools are receiving only $570,000. The remaining $219,577 must be funded by the 2,470 taxpayers of the La Conner school district. The Swinomish do not contribute to the $1,500,000 debt service on the bond that the Swinomish people voted for in building a new middle school.
On average the taxpayers of La Conner are paying $234 over and above what they should be paying. Taxpayers out in the county, outside the school district, are paying $15 extra, on average.
It is a shame that the school board does not insist on the Tribe paying their fair share. One solution is to impose a possessory interest tax on improvements on properties in Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned. This taxes the homes owned by non-Native Americans living on leased land. California does this. On the computer go to leginfo.ca.gov, click on ”California Law”, click on “Revenue & Taxation”, type in “RTC” and “Section 107”, click on Search. We should do this, or something similar.
Dan O’Donnell
La Conner

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