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Kittitas (pronounced 'KITT-i-tass') County is located in central Washington
State. It spans from the lush forested Cascade Mountains to the upper Yakima River Valley plains and
the Columbia River.
It is a tax on the sale of real estate. State law allows counties to impose a local real estate excise tax on each sale of real property in the unincorporated areas of the county. This rate is equal to one quarter of one percent and is referred to as REET 1. Revenues generated from this tax must be used for local capital projects. RCW Chapter 82.45
Because Kittitas County is required to plan under the State’s Growth Management Act, the law allows the Board of County Commissioners to impose an additional excise tax of one quarter of one percent on the sale of property in unincorporated areas of the county. This tax is often referred to as REET 2. RCW 82.46.035
REET 2 revenue is restricted and may only be used for financing capital projects specified in the capital facilities plan. REET 2 funds are more specifically directed to infrastructure and parks capital projects. A portion of REET 2 is also allowed to be used to maintain capital projects. RCW 82.46.010
New legislation in 2019 expanded the use of revenues for homeless housing to also include affordable housing (RCW 82.46.035(6)). Until January 1, 2026, any county may now use up to $100,000 or 25% of its available REET 2 funds – whichever is greater, but not to exceed $1 million – for affordable housing projects and the planning, acquisition, construction, reconstruction, repair, replacement, rehabilitation, or improvement of facilities for those experiencing homelessness, as long as such projects are listed in the capital facilities plan.
On 12/01/1990, Kittitas County opted-in to plan under the Growth Management Act, RCW 36.70A.040 requires that due to the rate of growth the county has sustained, it is now a requirement that Kittitas County plan under the GMA. Per RCW 82.46.035(2), as a county that is required to plan under the GMA, the legislative authority, your elected Commissioners, of the county may enact the tax without going to a vote of the people.
The cost depends on the sales price of your property. As an example, if your property sold for $200,000 this new tax would add an additional $500. Typically, this amount, along with other closing costs such as recording fees, etc., is deducted from the profit associated with your sale at the time of closing.
On average, this would generate about $1.7 million in additional revenue. The amount generated per year varies depending on large real estate sales and property market values.
Over half of all Washington counties have REET 2. The following 20 of the 39 counties have REET 2 for unincorporated transactions: Chelan, Clallam, Clark, Columbia, Franklin, Grant, Island, Jefferson, King, Kitsap, Klickitat, Lewis, Mason, Pierce, San Juan, Skagit, Snohomish, Spokane, Thurston, and Whatcom.
RCW 36.70A.040(1) states “Each County that…on or after May 16, 1995, has had its population increase by more than seventeen percent in the previous ten years, and the cities located within such county, and any other county regardless of its population that has had its population increase by more than twenty percent in the previous ten years, and the cities located within such county, shall conform with all of the requirements of this chapter…” “Once a county meets either of these sets of criteria, the requirement to conform with all of the requirements of this chapter remains in effect, even if the county no longer meets one of these sets of criteria.”
According to census data, Kittitas County grew 22.6% from 2000 to 2010. 33,362 people in 2000 to 40,915 people in 2010 and continues to rise to where we may see a population of over 50,000 people after the 2020 census is complete. As of July 2018, the population is estimated to be 47,364. The Kittitas County population has nearly doubled in the last 30 years. According to data provided by the Office of Financial Management, Kittitas County has seen the third highest percentage change in population of all Washington Counties over the last 10 years, with Franklin and Benton counties seeing the first and second highest change in population.
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REET 2 funds are restricted and can only be used on financing capital projects specified in the capital facilities plan of the county. RCW 82.46.035(5) defines capital projects as:
REET 2 may be used to fund REET 1 projects so long as certain limitations and additional reporting requirements are met. REET 2 may be used up to $100,000 or 25%, whichever is greater, but not to exceed $1 million per year for the following, per RCW 82.46.037(1):
The additional reporting requirements are defined in RCW 82.46.037
Kittitas County has a total area of 2,333 square miles. The highest point in the county is Mount Daniel at 7,959 feet above sea level.