Outside of Seattle, the town of Medina is home to both Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. But claiming fame due to two wealthy citizens doesn’t excuse the city from financial woes created by Washington’s property tax restrictions.
In Washington, a 2007 law prevents municipalities from increasing property tax revenue by more than 1% annually unless approved by a vote of the people. The result in Medina, a town of 3,200 people with a property tax levy of about $2.8 million annually, means that the legal increase won’t cover increases in operational costs to their fire department. City leaders are planning an election to ask for a larger increase.
It’s a noteworthy story here in North Dakota where similar property tax restrictions have been proposed. All good intentions aside, there’s seems to be a growing body of evidence that politicians fixing problems created by politicians leads to bigger problems than the first ones.