Where the Money Goes: A Breakdown of a Shoreline Homeowner's Property Tax Bill

Patch asked Shoreline Councilmember Will Hall to show the breakdown of his property tax bill; more than half goes to public education

If you are a Shoreline homeowner, have you wondered what percentage of your property tax bill goes where?

You may check every year to see, but many of us just pay it.

Patch asked Shoreline Councilmember Will Hall to provide the breakdown of the annual property tax bill of his Shoreline home assessed at $383,000 for 2012. 

The majority, more than 50 percent goes to public schools.

Here is a link to Hall's property tax bill on the King County Web site.

See the breakdown in the chart below:

 $     927.88 16.5% Washington State (for schools)  $ 2,160.22 38.5% Shoreline School District  $     542.28 9.7% King County  $     717.11 12.8% City of Shoreline  $       88.02 1.6% Port of Seattle  $     649.23 11.6% Shoreline Fire District  $     218.28 3.9% King County Library System  $     114.90 2.0% Shoreline Fire District  $         1.43 0.0% King County Ferry District  $       44.49 0.8% King County Flood Control District  $         2.10 0.0% King County Noxious Weeds (fee)  $     141.46 2.5% City of Shoreline Surface Water Management (fee)  $         9.98 0.2% King County Conservation District (fee)  $ 5,617.38 100.0%

Analysis from Councilmember Hall: Overall, 55 percent goes to public schools through the state and local levies.  The Shoreline School District portion includes the voter-approved levies and the voter-approved bonds to build the new high schools; 14.6 percent goes to King County and countywide services including libraries, ferries, flood control, noxious weeds, and the conservation district. 

Technically, the portion for noxious weeds and the conservation district is a fee for a specific service, not a tax. Including the general tax levy, the parks bond repayments, and the Surface Water Management utility fee, 15.3 percent goes to the City of Shoreline. Combining the fire and emergency medical services components, 13.6 percent goes to the Fire District. And that leaves just the 1.6 percent for the Port of Seattle. 

Commentary from Councilmember Hall: This only looks at what we pay on our property tax bill.  We pay for other services through different taxes and fees.  For example, we fund state and federal roads through the gas tax, we fund transit and other services through sales tax, and we pay for water and sewer on our utility bills. 

Our schools are a centerpiece of our community and I strongly believe they must be fully funded.  They currently get more than half of the total amount we all pay on our property tax bill.  Even so, it isn't enough money to sustain all the programs and the small class sizes that people want for a high quality education. 

The Washington State Legislature has a difficult task to fully fund basic education, as required by law. When I think about all the services that we get from the City of Shoreline -- police, parks, roads, community services, stormwater management, code enforcement, trails, etc., I think we get a good deal for a small share of our property tax bill.


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