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Attack ads challenge property sales tax proposal in Washington state

caption: Homes for sale in Rainier Valley, part of Seattle's South End.
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Homes for sale in Rainier Valley, part of Seattle's South End.
KUOW Photo/Joshua McNichols

The Washington Association of Realtors is trying to kill a proposed tax hike on property sales.

The Democrat's bill in Olympia would generate money to support low-income housing. But according to a report by the Washington Observer, the realtors group is spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on attack ads to defeat it.

"Making housing more expensive to increase affordable housing just doesn't make a lot of sense to us," said Nathan Gorton, a lobbyist with the Washington Association of Realtors.

"Our focus here is on homeowners and protecting homeowners," he said. "We know that homeowners right now are feeling stretched."

The Democrat's bill features a 1% tax increase, but only on amounts a little more than $5 million. The bill would also let local governments like Seattle raise taxes slightly on all real estate sales by .25 percent.

Earlier this year, government affairs manager Penny Lipsou testified on behalf of King County in support of the Democrats' proposed real estate tax hike.

"This bill will create additional progressive revenue at both the state and local level to address out housing crisis," Lipsou said.

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