Community Government

Gig Harbor voters overwhelmingly rejecting property tax proposal

Posted on April 23rd, 2024 By:

Gig Harbor voters soundly rejected a proposal to increase property taxes inside city limits.

Preliminary vote totals released by the Pierce County Elections Office on Tuesday, April 23, show 69% (2,379 votes) against the proposed increase and 31% (1,069) in favor of it. The elections office will post updated vote totals at 4 p.m. Wednesday.

The city asked voters whether to increase the city portion of their property tax to $1.10 per $1,000 of assessed value from the current $0.70. Voter approval would have meant about a $300 annual property tax increase for the owner of a $750,000 home inside city limits.

The city faces an estimated general fund shortfall of $3 million starting in 2025. Officials attributed the shortfall to diminishing property tax revenues, increased population, lower-than-expected sales tax receipts and depleted permit income.

As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, about 37% of Gig Harbor registered voters returned their ballots to the Pierce County Elections Office.

Another tax proposal on horizon

In August, city voters will weigh in on a proposed sales tax increase. The proposal would increase the sales tax at stores inside city limits from 8.9% to 9.0%, with proceeds earmarked for law enforcement and other public safety purposes.

The sales tax proposition goes to city voters on Aug. 6. If voters approve it, the sales tax increase would bring in an estimated $1 million a year — still leaving the city $2 million short in its general fund.

Opponents of the property tax lid lift promoted a business and occupation tax as an alternative to higher property taxes. They argued that a B&O tax could be paired with an additional sales tax increase or a property tax hike lower than what the city asked for this month.