34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon explains how the Washington Legislature was able to save the annexation sales tax credit from being struck down in budget cuts. The credit is a critical piece in Burien's plan to annex White Center and North Highline.
Rep. Fitzgibbon goes into detail on saving the annexation tax credit
34th District Rep. Joe Fitzgibbon and Burien City Manager Mike Martin attended the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council meeting on June 7 to share updates on the potential annexation of North Highline to Burien, including the protection of annexation tax credits in the Washington State budget.
Rep. Fitzgibbon, opening with the fact that he will be representing more of North Highline after redistricting in 2013, had good news for those in the pro-annexation camp.
“We thought that as part of the budget balancing process, the annexation sales tax credit for Burien to annex the remaining unincorporated area would be put on the table and go away,” he said, referencing a higher tax credit for North Highline than other unincorporated areas in King County.
“We were able to keep (the tax credit) with help from our friends from other cities that have annexation issues, Renton, Kirkland, we were able to keep that on the table … I am pleased that that is sticking around and now you will have a chance to vote on whether or not to become part of Burien this fall.”
Burien has said if the tax credit was cut from the budget, they simply would not pursue annexation any further.
When asked if the tax credit will be on the chopping block in upcoming years, as the legislature grapples with budgets, Fitzgibbon responded, “I doubt it … if it survived these last couple of years it is hard to imagine a situation in which it comes back on the table, especially if Burien successfully annexes. It is much more difficult, politically, to take away the credit once it has already been taken advantage of and the city is using the credit to provide services.”
“On the other hand, if the vote is not successful this fall, and it stays in limbo what is going to happen in the unincorporated area, I think it would be certainly more likely in that case that it would go away or it would at least brought down to the same level as other unincorporated areas.”
Fitzgibbon said the annexation tax credit is part of the state’s tax code instead of a line item on the budget, making it more difficult to strike out.
Mike Martin issued a reminder of the upcoming public information annexation forum on June 21, 6 p.m. at the 3.14 Bakery in White Center (9602 16th Ave S.W.).
“Please encourage people to come and get facts,” he said. “They seem to be in short supply these days, and I want to provide them.”
North Highline residents will vote on annexation in November.