Takeaways from the 2020 Washington State General Election





“We could have gotten more for transit?” AKA we could have paid more/forced this regressive tax harder on people least capable of and most impacted by paying it. There is not us or them. We are “them.”


@2: Property taxes are also regressive. Running a society is expensive. But I agree, complaining about excessive taxation is a healthy premise.


@2 - Property taxes are only regressive on paper. Poor folk aren't paying property taxes on 2 million dollar homes.


@4: No, but they're likely paying into property tax liability accounting trickled down from landlords.


@ 2,

Ever checked out Illinois, New Jersey, or New York? Property taxes are like three times higher than they are here, AND they have state income taxes.


@ 2 meant for @ 3


I wish the gop could figure out if renters pay property tax or not then stuck with whatever they decide.


@5, rent is purely market driven, if the rental market doesn’t support passing along a property hike then it doesn’t happen. Seattle’s rent is going up for other reasons, namely lack of supply and runaway income growth (ability to pay) on the top end. Yeah we need an income tax but I’d take a property tax increase over sales any day, if you’re trying to be progressive.



Right, because landlords are falling all over themselves to rent out $2,000,000 homes - which is what @4 specifically cited.

Fucking moron...


@12: However they are falling over themselves to rent out units in $2 million dollar apartment buildings.

{expletive returned}


In our system, property taxes are paid by tenants, indirectly. Our system taxes the value of the property and the structure. If you build a bigger structure -- e. g. an apartment building -- you pay more. This cost is then, in effect, passed onto the consumer. In cases where the builder can't get the rent necessary to pay the extra tax, they don't build the new apartment. This means fewer apartments being built, which in turn leads to higher rent.

If you just taxed the value of the property than it would be different. That would encourage more development.

That's the theory anyway. There has been a fair amount of research, and a lot of different opinions: https://www.ntanet.org/NTJ/69/2/ntj-v69n02p435-460-tax-incidence-and-rental-housing.pdf?v=%CE%B1.


@4 -- Our property taxes are flat, not progressive. That means that you pay taxes on a $200,000 condo, just like a two million dollar house. Exactly 1/10 the tax. And yes, poor people are paying property taxes on a condo.


Anyway, the idea that a 0.05% tax is burdensome is bullshit. That is a knee jerk response that ignores what this actually costs. Remember, the tax does not apply to rent, or to food. So what, exactly would be so damn tough about paying the additional tax? You really have to stretch to find an example. Buy clothes for $100 and you pay a nickel. Buy something for a thousand bucks and you pay an extra fifty cents. Oh dear.

Meanwhile, transit service will suffer. Someone, somewhere is going to get to work late because of this. Or someone will end up having to call a cab (which is a shit load more than they would pay in sales tax). Worse yet, someone will be in a position where transit just doesn't work for them, and so they buy a car. All so that the mayor, and Petersen, can brag about how they kept the taxes low. [This otherwise excellent piece neglected to mention that Petersen also pushed for lower sales tax (i. e. less transit funding). Fuck Alex Petersen.]


If "Dems are dominating up and down the I-5 corridor," then why are they losing a Senate seat and a House seat in the 19th LD, which is immediately adjacent to I-5?

Yes, Ds are doing well, with net gains to their already sizable majorities in both chambers... but 'dominating' feels a bit exaggerated.


@14 Ross, "If you just taxed the value of the property than it would be different. That would encourage more development."

Is there an end to this that doesn't involve everyone who are not multi-millionares being forced to live (mostly as renters) in high-rise apartment buildings, like NYC?

Because for some voters who own their own house, that's not very appealing.


@9 & @10: Begone before you draw Pence's flies.

I can at least sleep a little better living in the saner Washington.


When the history of our state is written, I'm confident that 2020 will be looked back upon as the high water mark for Democratic control of our state.

All the stars aligned: the hated Trump running for reelection, real/perceived attacks on voting, a pernicious feeling of dread about national politics generally.

What happened locally was all Biden coattails. King County even voted to give up the ability to elect the sheriff and instead trust that decision to the career pols on the KC Council. What the actual fuck? But what we'll see over the next few years is the predictable result of one-party governance: more tents, more needles, more criminals blocking traffic, more rioters starting fires.

Unless they start shipping political minorities off to the east in trains, the Seattle Soviet could not possibly be any further entrenched than it is now.


@20 -- 2020 is when the GOP decided they were no longer interested in being a viable statewide party in WA. Look at the primary for governor. Fortunato and Freed were at least conventional (albeit bad) politicians. Who do they nominate for governor? Culp, the guy who can't even properly submit his voter's pamphlet info and campaigns on a platform of "democracy is bad!" Look at the other statewide offices and it's the same, except for Wyman, but that's basically a technocratic position with no real hope for political advancement anyway.

Rather than being the high water mark for Dems, we'll look back on 2020 as the year that the GOP just stopped even trying to compete. They used to run people who had real ability. Rob McKenna for example was a ruthless and effective politician. But there's nobody left like him on their side, so now they just don't even pretend to care.