Sales tax jumps past 10 percent on April 1

Half-percent increase for the Regional Transit Authority
By Brian Soergel | Mar 30, 2017

You didn’t think taxes would go down just because you filed your taxes early, right?

On April 1, Edmonds will see its state and local sales tax rate hurdle the 10 percent barrier, as it jumps from 9.8 percent to 10.3 percent.

Save those dimes.

The half-percent increase is thanks to voters who checked “yes” on the ballot box, with the money going to Sound Transit (Regional Transit Authority).

The Snohomish, King and Pierce county tax increase will be used to expand and coordinate light-rail, commuter-rail and express bus service, as well as, hopefully, improve access to transit facilities.

In Edmonds, the sales tax rate breaks down the following way: 6.5 percent will remain the amount the state collects, but the local rate rises from 3.3 percent to 3.8 percent.

“We won’t know exactly where the money will go until the specific projects have been approved,” said Dave Turley, assistant finance director for the city of Edmonds. “The same applies to the state portion as well as the city portion.”

The rate will be the same, 10.3 percent, for those who live in Esperance, which is in unincorporated Snohomish County but whose residents have an Edmonds mailing address.

How does Edmonds sales tax look next to other cities in the county? Woodway, Mukilteo and Mukilteo will match the 10.3 percent. Two cities with an additional 0.1 percent tax – Lynnwood and Mill Creek – will hit 10.4 percent. Lynnwood residents voted for a 0.1 percent increase in November to fund transportation improvements over a 10-year period; Mill Creek has an extra 0.1 percent for criminal justice services.

The Snohomish County sales tax would be even higher if voters had approved a 0.2 percent sales tax increase last year originally proposed by the County Council to pay for more deputies and expanded treatment programs. When that received pushback, the increase was switched to funding the increased opioid epidemic.

Snohomish County voters didn’t buy that one, either.

This year’s increase comes after a 0.3 percent sales tax bump in the county in 2016, with funds going to Community Transit.

The retail sales tax is Washington’s principal tax source. Local retail sales and use taxes provide funding sources for local governments, and is collected by the state Department of Revenue.

The state portion is deposited in the state general fund. City and county taxes are returned to local governments. Specifically designated taxes must be used to operate the program(s) they fund.

"From conversations with some merchants it appears that many have not seen notices about the increase in sales tax," said Edmonds Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Greg Urban. "If merchants are not collecting the proper tax they will have to make up the difference when it comes time to pay the state."

Repeat after us: Life. Death. And taxes.



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