How a small fix could have a big impact on Washington conservation

The context: property taxes in Washington State are subject to two limits

The conflict: there’s an inconsistency in state code

The problem: the funding rate for conservation decreases as property values increase

When property values increase by more than 1% a year, the effective rate for any levies subject to the state’s 101% growth limit factor is reduced.

The result: constraining Conservation Futures this way means land protection can’t keep pace where property values are increasing the most

A landowner with a $500,000 property could pay up to $31.25 a year for conservation. But most counties currently collect $16.50 or less.

The solution: a small technical fix could have a big impact

The legislature should clarify that Conservation Futures is not subject to the annual levy growth limit.

The proposed fix on its own would not change the rate of collection in any county or alter the 6.25 cent ceiling per $1000 assessed value on Conservation Futures overall.

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Learn more 

HB 1672 

Conservation Futures Program RCW 84.34.200-250 

Limit on Annual Levy Growth RCW 84.55.0101 

2020 collection rates by county 

Revenue Guide for Washington Counties 

101% limit factor explanation from Department of Revenue