Last-Minute Property Tax Legislation Draws Small Business Ire, Action

Date: April 18, 2023

Lawmakers’ cavalier disregard for their own deadlines violates public trust

Contact: Patrick Connor, Washington State Director, [email protected]
or Tony Malandra, Senior Media Manager, [email protected]

OLYMPIA, Wash., April 18, 2023—Two bills seeking to boost property taxes have either been brought back to life or introduced at the last minute in the final week of the session, drawing the admonition and ire of the representative group for Washington state’s small-business owners.

“While a serious discussion about property taxes may be overdue, it should be held in full view of, and with significant input from, the public during the interim and in next year’s legislative session,” said NFIB Washington State Director Patrick Connor. “This last-minute resurrection and late introduction of nearly $5 billion in combined property and real estate excise tax increases, after all procedural deadlines have lapsed, should not be rewarded with hurried and questionable parliamentary maneuvers that undermine the credibility of the Legislature and would actually make housing less affordable.”

Connor’s irritation was directed at House Bill 1628 and Senate Bill 5770. In a surprising breach of protocol, the House Finance Committee on Friday resurrected HB 1628, a bill thought to be dead due to fiscal and opposite chamber deadlines having both lapsed.

HB 1628, increasing the real estate excise tax (REET), would primarily impact commercial property as well as some high-value homes. The bill is expected to raise more than $1.5 billion for the state over the next five years, if approved by the Legislature. Local governments could see their REET collections increase by an additional $1.2 billion over that same period. That’s a combined $2.7 billion in added REET taxes over the next five years, if this bill becomes law.

Senate Bill 5770 was introduced April 12, after all deadlines for considering legislation had passed. The bill would allow the annual property tax cap to increase from 1% to 3%, raising nearly $2 billion over five years. Property taxes would continue to grow in future years due to both new assessed values and higher annual property tax increases.

The typical NFIB member employs 10 people. When last polled, 40% of NFIB members owned the building their businesses operate from, 54% rented, and 7% had a mix of both if more than one property.

NFIB issued two action alerts to its statewide membership encouraging them to ask their state lawmakers to oppose HB 1628 and SB 5770.

Keep up with the latest Washington state small-business news at or by following NFIB on Twitter @NFIB_WA or on Facebook @NFIB.WA


For 80 years, NFIB has been advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven association. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today. For more information, please visit

NFIB Washington
111 – 21st Avenue Southwest
Olympia, WA 98501
Twitter: @NFIB_WA

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