Taxes are the City's most important source of funding and include Sales and Use taxes, Property and Road taxes, Utility taxes, gambling taxes and admissions taxes.
Most retail sales within the City of Kennewick are subject to an 8.7% sales tax. The majority of this tax goes to the state (6.5%) with the remainder being distributed to the City of Kennewick (0.85%), Benton County (0.35%), Ben Franklin Transit Authority (0.60%), and Criminal Justice (0.10%). Additionally, in August of 2013, Benton County Voters approved a 0.3% sales tax that is dedicated towards public safety (criminal justice) programs. The proceeds of this voter-approved sales tax are split 60/40 between Benton County and each of the cities within the county, with the 40% city portion of the tax distributed based on population.
Property taxes are local taxes accessed on property owned, such as real estate, and are measured by the value of the property as determined either by the fair market value or the appraisal valuation completed by the County Assessor's office. These taxes are billed by the County Treasurer, who then distributes these taxes upon collection to the various state, school, county, city and district funds as levied.
The City of Kennewick currently receives utility taxes from natural gas, garbage collection, cable television, telephone, electric and its water/sewer, stormwater and ambulance utilities.
Cities that choose to allow gambling activities within their borders may tax the gambling revenues from those activities. The City currently levies a 10% tax for punch boards, pull-tabs, and card rooms; 5% for bingo; and 2% for amusement games. The gambling establishments remit their taxes on a quarterly basis directly to the City.
Gambling Tax Return
The City collects a 5% admissions tax on admission charges greater than $0.10, with the exception of school events. The admissions tax on events at the Toyota Center are dedicated to offsetting the General Fund operating subsidy to the Toyota Center and, in the event that no operating subsidy is needed, will be dedicated to repayment of the debt service.