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Snoqualmie issues call to action, urges veto in tribal tax exemption
The city of Snoqualmie issued a call to action this week, calling on residents to help fight a bill that changes the property tax burden paid by Washington's Indian tribes.
Passage of House Bill 1287, which is on Governor Jay Inslee’s desk, would waive property tax obligations on property owned by tribes. The city says the bill is flawed, and could ultimately shift the tax burden from tribes to all other city residents. According to the city, for example, in 2015, the average Snoqualmie household could have $30 added to its annual property tax bill to assume the tax burden of the Salish Lodge & Spa, owned by the Muckleshoot Tribe.
“Not only will this bill negatively impact our citizens by increasing their property taxes, but the exemption will result in the permanent loss of new construction property tax revenue to the City for off-reservation, tribally-owned properties,” stated Snoqualmie Mayor Matt Larson, in a news release. “This will result in decreased revenues for city services such as public safety and infrastructure.”
Over the past several weeks, Larson has been actively fighting passage of House Bill 1287 by meeting with legislators and talking with the media. He calls for a veto.
HB 1287 passed through the Washington State House of Representatives, then passed through the Senate. Fifth District Senator Mark Mullett opposed it.
Because the Senate passed it with amendments, it was required to go back to the state House, which again passed it despite opposition by the Valley's House representatives, Jay Rodne and Chad Magendanz.
Governor Jay Inslee will be reviewing the bill imminently for signature; As Thursday morning, it had not passed.
In Snoqualmie, the Muckleshoot Tribe’s proposed new hotel and residential expansion across from the Salish Lodge & Spa is expected to generate approximately $428,000 in new construction property tax for the City of Snoqualmie, plus 1% tax increases in the future. This $428,000-plus revenue loss will be accompanied by the loss of other new construction property tax on anticipated new development on off-reservation properties owned by the Snoqualmie Tribe within the City of Snoqualmie.
• Details about House Bill 1287 and its consequences are available on the City of Snoqualmie website in the City News section of the homepage at www.cityofsnoqualmie.org.
In a statement, the city urged residents to contact Gov Inslee and request a veto. The governor can be reached at 360-902-4111. To email, go to his website atwww.governor.wa.gov/contact.