Frequently Asked Questions about the legislative request
Is this a tax increase?
No. For the 14 counties that currently participate in the CFP, this would allow elected officials to make county-by-county decisions about the levy rate, provided the rate stays under the 6.25 cent ceiling established in the law. For the 25 counties that do not participate in the CFP, this would have no impact.
How will it affect prorating and junior districting?
This bill does not impact prorating and junior districting because it does not change the rate of levy collections. If counties decided in the future to adjust a CFP rate, compression implications for junior levies would depend on the county. In King County, raising the rate of collections to the 6.25 cent ceiling would not impact junior districts.
Why is conservation more important than anything else subject to levy growth limits?
The technical ambiguity proposed for clarification is unique to a small handful of levy types. While land conservation underpins a broad array of priorities including public health, environmental resiliency, and the state economy, it is not more important than other priorities like affordable housing, education, and transportation.
However, the very nature of land conservation requires that funding keep pace with growth in property values. Land with high conservation value is a limited and rapidly depleting resource. There is urgency to complete this work before opportunities are lost forever and while there is still a chance to mitigate some of the impacts anticipated from climate change.
Will this require a constitutional change?
No. This does not impact the 1% limit on the total amount of taxes that can be collected, also known as the $10 constitutional limit.
What does this pay for and how can it address inequities?
Counties can customize program implementation based on local priorities. Some dedicate all funding to farmland preservation. Others use the funding to support urban greenspace, trails, forest production areas, and/or salmon habitat.
Funding can be used for conservation easements on private property (where the land is protected for a specific purpose but continues to be owned and managed by a private party) or for fee acquisition (where the land is owned by the government or a nonprofit nature conservancy/historic preservation corporation).
Counties can choose to specifically target conservation projects that address historic inequities. For example, funding could be used to acquire new parks in neighborhoods currently lacking greenspace. Or funding could be used to acquire farms for leasing to new and immigrant famers. Funding can also be used to protect salmon habitat in areas deemed high priorities by Washington tribes.