Griffey bill to aid nonprofit senior centers unanimously passes House

A bill to allow some nonprofit senior centers property tax exemptions was approved by the House Tuesday.

Most senior centers operated by the state and local governments are currently exempt from property taxes. Nonprofit organizations, including senior centers, may also qualify for these property tax exemptions so long as certain criteria are met pertaining to nonexempt activities. House Bill 1526, sponsored by Rep. Dan Griffey, would eliminate some of those requirements and expand the eligibility of property tax exemptions to multipurpose senior centers.

“At the end of the day, this bill is about making sure seniors continue to have access to health and wellness activities that greatly improve their quality of life,” said Griffey, R-Allyn. “This especially makes sense for individuals living in our rural communities who often do not have a variety of services at their disposal for their aging loved ones.

Senior centers provide a multitude of benefits to seniors that help prolong their independence, encourage civic engagement and provide an increased sense of community. We should be doing all we can to leverage the advantages and positive outcomes these centers offer.”

The idea for House Bill 1526 was brought to Griffey by Belfair Faith in Action, a nonprofit organization in Belfair that's been raising money for the past seven years to build a HUB center to serve Mason County seniors. Prior to construction, they were told they would receive a property tax exemption so long as the center kept to the organization's mission. The facility they built, which also hosts a local farmers' market, was denied an exemption because the facility held too many retail activities.

During a public hearing in January in Olympia, members of Belfair Faith in Action testified in support of the bill.

“As baby boomers are aging into the system, I think it only makes fiscal and financial sense for government to empower nonprofits who are willing to step up to the base and take on some of the burdens of taking care of some of our citizens instead of discouraging it,” said Patricia Kleist, executive director of Belfair Faith in Action.

The bill now advances to the Senate for further consideration.



Washington State House Republican Communications