Happy New Year ... there's a pretty good chance your property taxes are going up ... significantly.

Yakima County Treasurer Ilene Thompson and Assessor County Dave Cook appeared on KIT's Morning News on Friday to deliver the bad news and to direct our attention to the Washington State Legislature as the reason for the increase.

So how much money are we talking about?  According to these Yakima County officials, due to changes in Washington state's laws, Yakima taxpayers are on the hook for approximately $35.1 million more than the previous year.

Here's some background. First, Yakima's real estate market remains strong with more than 3,800 properties worth $1.2 billion being sold in 2019. From December 2018 to December 2019, the average price of a home increased 8% to over $249,000.

In fact, in 2019, Yakima County property owners benefited from a reduction of $8.3 million dollars in taxes, primarily due to the Legislature capping the state school levies at $1.50 per $1,000 of value. Well, that gift is going away with the cap raising in 2020 to $2.70 per $1,000 of value.

In addition, local levies lids, capped at $1.50, are now open to be raised up to as much as a dollar more -- $2.50 per $1,000 of value.

Bottom line: Property taxes for Yakima County in 2020 will be up about $35.1 million with about $31.9 million of that amount going to the state school levy and local public schools.

With that kind of investment in education, we should be able to turn out some scholars capable going to Olympia and developing a reasonable, sustainable plan to fully fund education!

Both the treasurer and the assessor say they anticipate calls and complaints, and they are standing by to hear from you ... and ME!