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Tech workers’ expensive housing tastes translate to hefty tax dollars

Zillow reports that tech workers are spending big on more expensive homes than their non-tech neighbors and that means they are paying far more in property taxes. (AP)

Their hefty paychecks may be contributing to rising rents and growing housing prices, but one Seattle-area tech company has pointed out that tech workers also pay much more into their communities than their non-tech counterparts. That’s because they are putting their loaded salaries toward more expensive tastes, especially when it comes to housing.

“Tech workers catch grief for driving up housing prices in some parts of the country, “said Zillow Chief Economist Svenja Gudell. “At the same time, they pay quite a bit more in real estate taxes, which helps finance everything from local parks to keeping the streetlights on.”

Related: Why Seattle’s available tech jobs have declined

Zillow, a major player in the online real-estate industry, is based in the Seattle area. In a recent blog post, the company points out that the average non-tech American household paid $2,885 in property taxes in 2014. Tech workers, on the other hand, forked over $4,214.

The sentiment is that tech workers put their large salaries toward homes that are more expensive than others in their communities — owned by those who aren’t working in the tech field. And when tax season comes, they are paying considerably more in property taxes than their non-tech neighbors.

That reality echoes across every taxed tech hub — except for Honolulu. Tech workers are paying more in property taxes.

In Seattle, the region took in $392.2 million in 2014 tax dollars from tech households alone. That could pay for the city’s entire human services department — budgeted for $142.2 million — for a year. The same could be said for the department of education and early learning ($55 million), the public library ($71.8 million) and the $45.3 million needed to fund the Seattle Center with the Space Needle.

San Jose and San Francisco took in far more tax dollars from their respective tech employees. To see what other tech hubs could do with the tech-property taxes they haul in, click here.


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