Board of Commissioners to Hold Public Hearing on Sales Tax Increase to Fund Affordable Housing Activities
Public invited to comment on proposed increase of one-tenth of one percent sales tax
OLYMPIA – The Thurston County Board of County Commissioners will hold a public hearing to receive public testimony on Tuesday, November 23, at 3:00pm regarding a proposed one-tenth of one percent sales tax increase for all Thurston County residents, except for City of Olympia residents, as allowed under House Bill 1590 to support affordable housing activities.
Washington State House Bill 1590, which was amended in 2021 under House Bill 1070 states, "a county legislative authority may impose, without a proposition approved by a majority of persons voting, a sales and use tax in accordance with the terms of this chapter. The rate of tax under this section may not exceed one-tenth of one percent of the selling price in the case of a sales tax, or value of the article used, in the case of a use tax."
The intent of the funds is to create affordable housing for county residents whose income is 60 percent or below the Area Median Income (AMI). Legislation requires a minimum of 60 percent of the fund collected be used to:
- Construct affordable housing,
- Construct mental and behavioral health-related facilities; or
- Funding the operations and maintenance costs of new units of affordable housing and facilities where housing-related programs are provided, or newly constructed evaluation and treatment centers.
The City of Olympia has an equivalent sales tax for its residents. Any tax approved by the county would apply to all Thurston County residents and businesses that are not subject to the City of Olympia sales tax, commonly referred to as the Home Fund.