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                   SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION 8212



State of Washington      55th Legislature     1997 Regular Session


By Senators Spanel, Snyder, Loveland, Wojahn, McAuliffe, Goings and Kohl; by request of Governor Locke


Read first time 03/06/97.  Referred to Committee on Ways & Means.

Amending the state Constitution to allow for property tax relief.


    THAT, At the next general election to be held in this state the secretary of state shall submit to the qualified voters of the state for their approval and ratification, or rejection, an amendment to Article VII, section 1 of the Constitution of the state of Washington and an amendment to Article VII of the Constitution of the state of Washington by adding a new section to read as follows:


    Article VII, section 1.  The power of taxation shall never be suspended, surrendered or contracted away.  All taxes shall be uniform upon the same class of property within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax and shall be levied and collected for public purposes only.  However, the legislature may provide that increases in the assessed value of real property be phased in over a period of up to four years, under conditions and restrictions provided by law.  The word "property" as used herein shall mean and include everything, whether tangible or intangible, subject to ownership.  All real estate shall constitute one class:  Provided, That the legislature may tax mines and mineral resources and lands devoted to reforestation by either a yield tax or an ad valorem tax at such rate as it may fix, or by both.  Such property as the legislature may by general laws provide shall be exempt from taxation. Property of the United States and of the state, counties, school districts and other municipal corporations, and credits secured by property actually taxed in this state, not exceeding in value the value of such property, shall be exempt from taxation.  The legislature shall have power, by appropriate legislation, to exempt personal property to the amount of three thousand ($3,000.00) dollars for each head of a family liable to assessment and taxation under the provisions of the laws of this state of which the individual is the actual bona fide owner.


    Article VII, section . . ..  Notwithstanding any other provision of this constitution, the legislature may provide a property tax credit against state ad valorem property tax.  The credit shall only be allowed to owner-occupied single-family residential property that is not primarily used for commercial purposes.  The initial amount of the credit shall not exceed the property tax imposed by the state on twenty percent of the state-wide average assessed value of owner-occupied single-family residential property that is not primarily used for commercial purposes, and thereafter the amount of the credit may increase annually at a rate not to exceed the average rate of growth over a five-year period in assessed value of that owner-occupied single-family residential property that is not primarily used for commercial purposes.  The credit may not result in increased property taxes on other taxpayers.

    The legislature may place such other restrictions and conditions upon the applicability of the credit under this section as it deems proper.

    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That this amendment is a single amendment within the meaning of Article XXIII, section 1 of the state Constitution.

    The legislature finds that the changes contained in this amendment constitute a single integrated plan for purposes of property taxation.  If this amendment is held to be separate amendments, this joint resolution is void in its entirety and is of no further force and effect.


    BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the secretary of state shall cause notice of this constitutional amendment to be published at least four times during the four weeks next preceding the election in every legal newspaper in the state.


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