Washington Property Tax Exemption, HJR 4223 (2006)

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The Washington Property Tax Exemption Amendment, also known as House Joint Resolution 4223, was on the November 7, 2006 in Washington as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure authorized the legislature to increase the maximum personal property tax exemption for personal property owned by each "head of a family" from $3,000 to $15,000.[1] The measure amended Section 1 of Article VII of the Washington Constitution.[2]

Election results

Washington HJR 4223 (2006)
Approveda Yes 1,581,373 79.82%

Election results via: Washington Secretary of State

Text of measure

See also: Washington State Constitution, Section 1 of Article VII

The language appeared on the ballot as:[1]

The legislature has proposed a constitutional amendment on increasing an exemption from the personal property tax. This amendment would authorize the legislature to increase the personal property tax exemption for taxable personal property owned by each “head of a family” from three thousand ($3,000) to fifteen thousand ($15,000) dollars. Should this constitutional amendment be approved or rejected?[3]

Explanatory statement

The Attorney General of Washington is required to provide an explanatory statement for every statewide ballot measure. The explanatory statement provided in the official voter guide for HJR 4223 said:[1]

The state constitution and state statutes provide for a property tax based on the value of property. Property taxes apply to both real property (land, buildings, and permanent fixtures) and personal property (all other property that is not real estate). The amount of the tax is determined based upon the assessed valuation of the property. Certain personal property is exempt from tax, including household goods, furnishings and personal effects used by the owner, and most business merchandise. Personal property subject to property tax consists mainly of office furniture and business equipment, fixtures, and machinery.

The state constitution authorizes the legislature to enact an additional statutory exemption for taxable personal property worth up to $3,000 owned by each individual who is a "head of a family" and the legislature has done so. An individual who is a "head of a family," as defined by statute, and by rule of the Department of Revenue, qualifies for the exemption. A "head of a family" is defined to include a husband or wife, or a surviving spouse not remarried; any person receiving an old age pension under state laws; any citizen of the United States, over the age of sixty-five who has resided in Washington continuously for ten years; and other individuals who reside with and provide care and maintenance for family members, as defined. Corporations, limited liability companies, and partnerships do not qualify for the exemption.

When an individual who qualifies as a "head of a family" owns taxable personal property, the individual is entitled to an exemption of up to $3,000.[3]



A statement in favor of HJR 4223 was included with the official voter guide. The statement was written by state representatives Derek Kilmer and Mark Ericks; Don Brunell, President of the Association of Washington Business; Carolyn Logue, State Director, National Federation of Independent Business; Klaus Golombek, retired banker and Kitsap County business owner; and Gary Smith, Executive Director, Independent Business Association.

The statement said:[1]

  • Small businesses are the heart of Washington’s economy. Yet, the local businesses that provide good jobs for our families and communities often struggle to stay afloat.
  • This proposed constitutional amendment – HJR 4223 – will help local businesses grow and succeed.
  • Currently, businesses must pay a personal property tax on their assets. The first $3,000 of their assets are exempt from the tax. HJR 4223 would raise the exemption allowed under the State Constitution to $15,000.
  • Increasing the exemption will help businesses throughout Washington. Start up businesses, in-home businesses and businesses updating old equipment – such as computers or machinery – will benefit from this change.
  • This amendment will:
  • Save money for Washington’s employers, enabling them to invest more in their workers and in improving competitiveness;
  • Enable small businesses to upgrade their technologies without substantially increasing their tax burden;
  • Reduce paperwork.
  • This reform is long overdue. While the cost of everyday items has increased significantly, this exemption has not been raised since 1988.
  • HJR 4223 was prime-sponsored by State Representative Derek Kilmer, who works with small businesses every day as a manager with the Economic Development Board in Pierce County. The proposal passed unanimously out of the State House and Senate.
  • It received the support of the Association of Washington Business, the National Federation of Independent Business, the Independent Business Association and local businesses throughout our state.
  • As citizens, we have the ability to pass this constitutional amendment and help our small businesses compete. Please vote “yes."


No statements in opposition to HJR 4223 were provided by any opponents for the official ballot guide.[1]

See also

Suggest a link

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Office of the Secretary of State, "1975 Voters Pamphlet," accessed September 4, 2013
  2. Washington State Legislature, "Washington State Constitution," accessed September 4, 2013
  3. 3.0 3.1 Note: This text is quoted verbatim from the original source. Any inconsistencies are attributed to the original source.