The problem with Swinomish taxation lies with the Washington State Department of Revenue. Now that Shelter Bay and Pull & Be Damned are withdrawn from the tax base, the $154,161,500 assessed valuation, and the $13.0988 levy rate, and the $2,019,333 in taxes (2018 figures) are shifted to the remaining taxpayers. This affects the following taxing districts: the state levy, county roads, county general, conservation, La Conner library, the Port of Anacortes, Medic 1, Fire District 13, and the La Conner school district.
It should have been that when a portion of a taxing district ceases to exist, the taxes should cease also. The Revised Code of Washington and the Washington Administrative Code are silent about this eventuality. There is no guidance.
It is not too late to seek a new law which provides specific guidance. We should all write to the Honorable Dave Paul, our new representative in Olympia, recommending that when a taxing district loses part of its district, the taxes it collects from that part of the district shall disappear. And, including a clause making it retroactive to 2014.
In this way the individual taxing districts can negotiate with the Swinomish to be reimbursed for services rendered, and we should not have to pick-up the tax load.
(Norma Smith also represent House District 10; Barbara Bailey is the district’s senator. – editor)