For Immediate Release:
February 16, 2022
Spokane County Treasurer’s Office announces $13.45 million investment income distributed to local governments in Year in Review Report; Other highlights include property tax extension and penalty and interest legislative relief
Click here to view the 2021 Year in Review Report
Spokane County, WA – The 2021 Spokane County Treasurer’s Office Year in Review report was published today highlighting over $13 million of investment income distributed to local governments through Treasurer’s Office investments. Other highlights of the Year in Review include information on Spokane County’s 2021 property tax extension and the passage of penalty and interest relief by the State Legislature.
The Spokane Public Investment Fund (SPIF), which invests the cash reserves of over eighty regional governmental entities in a $1.3 billion fixed income portfolio, distributed over $13 million of investment income to participants with an effective rate of return of 1.00%. Spokane County public entities invested with SPIF earned over $11 million more than had their investments been made solely in the State Treasurer’s Local Government Investment Pool. Investment income is distributed monthly to participants supporting public services without raising taxes or fees on the public.
Newman Lake Fire & Rescue was the recipient of a Local Direct Investment supporting financing of a new burn building training facility. The facility opened in late 2021 and is used for live fire exercises for area firefighters. Local Direct Investments are made available to investment fund participants and have previously supported local parks, road, and school improvements.
“This Year in Review report is part of my effort to increase public awareness and understanding of the Treasurer’s Office. Our public investments returned over $13 million to local governments last year which supports public services like law enforcement and road improvements without raising taxes.” Said Michael Baumgartner, Treasurer of Spokane County.
Treasurer Baumgartner authorized an extension of first half Spokane County property taxes to provide more time to pay without accruing interest charges. Spokane County was the only county to offer a property tax extension in 2021. County Treasurers by state law may authorize an extension of a property tax deadline during a state of emergency declared by the Governor. The annual Spokane County property tax collection rate surpassed ninety-eight percent which is consistent with a strengthening economy.
Reducing the usurious twenty-three percent annual penalty and interest charged to delinquent property taxes has been an ongoing legislative priority for the Treasurer’s Office. Legislation sponsored by Rep. Mike Volz who also serves as Chief Deputy Treasurer was signed into law during the 2021 state legislative session eliminating future penalties and reducing the amount of interest charged to homeowner property taxes.
“Government should not balance budgets on the expectation of people doing something wrong. Twenty-three percent penalty and interest was a usurious amount to charge to back taxes and I am pleased the legislature acted to significantly reduce the interest charged to delinquent property taxes. Representative Volz deserves a lot of credit for championing this issue in Olympia.” Added Baumgartner.