Initiative or Levy
- Endorsement Requester: Conserve our Future: YES on KC Prop 1
- Contact Phone: +12064221119
- Website: https://www.conserveourfuturekc.com
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- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConserveOurFuture/
Would you be willing to speak to members of the 31st Legislative District Democrats about this initiative?
Initiative or Levy Information
King County Council Ordinance 19458, Proposition No. 1, Conservation Futures Levy
KC Prop 1 would provide funding to pay, finance, or refinance acquisition and preservation of: urban green spaces, natural areas, wildlife and salmon habitat, trails, river corridors, farmlands and forests by authorizing restoration of the county’s RCW 84.34.230 conservation futures property tax levy to a rate of $0.0625 per $1,000 of assessed valuation for collection in 2023 and use the dollar amount of the 2023 levy for the purpose of computing subsequent levy limitations under chapter 84.55 RCW.
King County Proposition 1 has been submitted for this November ballot as a proposition to restore King County’s Conservation Futures property tax levy back to its original rate, preserving mature forests, improving habitat for native salmon, expanding recreational opportunities and ensuring equitable access to the outdoors. Restoring this fund will cost the average homeowner just over $2 a month, with relief available to qualified low income seniors and other households. Proposition 1 will preserve forests critical to carbon capture and mitigating climate change, safeguard clean air and clean water in our growing region, improve and protect habitat for salmon recovery and wildlife, expand access to green space for people in underserved urban areas, and protect farmland from growth and development.
The initiative is off to a strong start, but without adequate funding now, King County and partners will miss the best opportunities to protect open spaces. The Conservation Futures Program was authorized at this rate in 1982, but state limitations on annual property tax growth have reduced the county’s allowable rate over time to approximately 3.12 cents in 2022, even though the maximum statutory rate remains 6.25 cents. Such a proposal would raise approx. $25 million /year ($598 million/20 years), doubling the current CFT revenue, growing over time. Due to these limitations, the program today is generating about half the revenue it was originally designed to. This is far below the rate of inflation. As a result, the Conservation Futures tax rate has declined by almost 50 percent while property values have increased.
In 2016, Executive Constantine launched the Land Conservation Initiative, convening a regional partnership of communities, cities, farmers, businesses, and environmental leaders to protect 65,000 acres of the highest conservation-value open space within a single generation. The LCI calls for a series of accelerated actions to address rapidly-shrinking open spaces and climbing land prices. By finishing the job in a single generation, we can save $15 billion over what it would take under our current land preservation trajectory and protect many of these lands before they are lost. Of these 65,000 acres that have been mapped, they are prioritized within six land categories of; urban green space, trails, natural lands, rivers, farmlands and forests. This restoration of this conservation levy will also help fund the efforts of the Land Conservation Initiative Equity Framework, creating a more equitable distribution of open space throughout King County. More than 20 percent of King County residents – over 500,000 people – do not live near a greenspace, a trail, or a park, speaking to the disproportionate impacts on these King County communities due to existing and historical racial, social, environmental and economic inequities. These communities are particularly vulnerable to excessive heat, poor air and water quality and flooding episodes. Protecting and stewarding land in these communities will help improve individual, community and environmental health, food access, and community economic development. In short: Conservation Futures can no longer keep the pace as property values of the last, best open spaces rise – but we can and will fix that when we succeed in November because this a shared commitment that reflects the character of our region. By mobilizing legislative district members, cities, nonprofits, businesses, land trusts, and environmental advocates, we will deliver on the promise of the Land Conservation Initiative for the benefit of everyone who lives here today and for those who will come after us. We hope for your support.