Sen. Andy Hill stops Klahanie bill to block tax credit
February 10, 2014
By Ari Cetron
NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 10, 2014
Sen. Andy Hill (R-45) announced he would not move ahead with a bill he introduced to alter Issaquah’s tax credit if it were to annex the Klahanie area.
Under current law, Issaquah would get a state sales tax credit for annexing the Klahanie area. Hill introduced a bill Jan. 29 that would have eliminated that credit.
The bill came before the Senate Ways & Means Committee for a public hearing Feb. 4. Hill is chairman of that committee.
In a statement Feb. 6, Hill said he would not continue to advance the legislation.
“The bill will not be moving forward at this point. It was important to have an open conversation about the issue, and for the Legislature to always evaluate opportunities to save taxpayer dollars or spend them more effectively,” he said. “In this case, $6 million could be at stake, and I believe my constituents expect me to scrutinize items of this magnitude.”
Hill did not formally withdraw the bill, but indicated he has no plans to attempt to bring it to a vote.
Sammamish City Councilman Don Gerend and Mayor Tom Vance came to speak in favor of the bill at the Feb. 4 hearing. The pair brought up many of the arguments Sammamish has been making during the annexation process.
Gerend noted the King County Boundary Review Board was prohibited from saying if Issaquah or Sammamish was the best choice for Klahanie.
Vance explained that Sammamish could annex the area and provide better service levels. Since it would not need the tax credit, Vance said it would save the state money if Sammamish annexed the area.
During the hearing, Sen. Mark Mullet (D-5), who represents the Klahanie area, opposed the bill. Mullet noted that while the bill might save the state money, it could end up costing Klahanie residents more, if they are annexed into Sammamish instead of Issaquah, in the form of higher property taxes.
“For 11,000 people in my district, it’s costing them a lot of money,” Mullet said.
Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler also spoke. He blasted the Sammamish City Council for pushing the bill, saying it did not disclose important details about the annexation, such as the boundaries of the Potential Annexation Area meaning only Issaquah can annex the area, and findings of the Boundary Review Board that Issaquah could annex the area.
Additionally, he said the bill addresses what is essentially a part of a dispute between two cities and was a waste of the Legislature’s time.
“Cities should not … bring their bickering to Olympia,” Butler said.