Several days ago, a letter appeared in the Union-Bulletin from a constituent concerned about House Bill 2962. She believed the measure would allow the government to automatically take tax payments from people's bank accounts.
Rep, Maureen Walsh and I would like to take a moment to clarify the bill and put to rest any concerns.
On April 30 and Oct. 31, property taxes are due and payable to the county. For people on a limited income, coming up with those property tax payments twice a year can be difficult.
Several county treasurers came to the Legislature with a proposal to help property owners even out those tax payments over time, making them more affordable.
The bill would allow property owners the option of making monthly property tax payments through electronic deduction of their bank accounts, debit accounts or credit cards. The property owner would have to consent to the deductions before they could be made, and county treasurers would not be allowed to compel the use of the electronic billing and payment system.
Let's be very clear about this measure. It does not increase or decrease the amount of taxes owed to the county. It is purely a voluntary option. It also provides a convenience for property owners, because they can spread out payments over time and not have to worry about writing a check every month to the county, or incurring late charges. In addition, it will save both the county and property owners from paying mailing costs.
In this age of electronic debiting, many consumers are taking advantage of automatic payments for their cell phones, car insurance, electricity and gas, and other bills. House Bill 2962 is meant to extend that convenience to property owners and make it easier to pay their property taxes over time.
Rep. Terry Nealey
Our address is P.O. Box 1358, Walla Walla, WA 99362.
If possible, e-mail letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Letters must be less than 400 words.