Local government taxes and revenues were largely sustained in 2020. State taxes increased by 4.2% in FY 2020 and by 11.7% in FY 2021. Meanwhile, in CY 2020, taxes grew by 5.3% in Washington’s counties and fell by 2.9% in Washington’s cities. However, from 2010 through 2017, city tax growth exceeded that of the state.
In 2020, total county revenues grew by 16.6%, and federal revenues and grants to counties increased by 248.2%. Total revenues decreased for five counties, and taxes decreased for four counties. In 2020, total city revenues increased by 0.6%, and federal revenues and grants to cities increased by 102.9%. Total revenues decreased for 122 cities, and taxes decreased for 97 cities.
Losses to revenues (not including federal revenues) may be backfilled by certain federal relief money. Compared to a generous calculation of potential revenue specified by federal rule, 30 counties and 201 cities lost revenue, but only three counties and 82 cities had a revenue loss that could not be fully covered by their federal allocation (for a total not covered of $197.1 million). However, by simply comparing 2020 to 2019 revenues, just 12 counties and 159 cities lost revenue, and federal allocations could cover all but $48.2 million of the losses.
Read the Washington Research Council report here.