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AGO Opinions with Topic: PUBLIC FUNDS
AGO 2006 No. 12 >  May 30, 2006
COUNTIES - PUBLIC FUNDS - GIFTS
Authority of county to use sales tax revenue to provide housing for persons of low and moderate income 1. RCW 82.46.075 authorizes a county to impose certain sales and use taxes for the purpose of providing affordable housing for persons of low and moderate income; it does not violate the constitutional provisions against gifts and lending of credit to provide housing assistance to persons or households whose incomes could reasonably be described as “low” or “moderate.” 2. RCW 82.46.075 authorizes a county to develop criteria for eligibility for housing programs funded through the sales tax authorized by the statute; the statute is broad enough to permit a county to provide a preference to public employees if the county can show that such a preference will further the statutory purpose of the program.
AGO 2006 No. 4 >  February 2, 2006
LODGING TAX - CITIES AND TOWNS - COUNTIES - TOURISM - PUBLIC FUNDS
Authority of municipality to allocate lodging tax revenues to facilities in which the municipality has no ownership interest 1.  A municipality lacks authority to allocate lodging tax revenue to operate a tourism-related facility in which the municipality has no ownership interest.  2.  A municipality may not spend lodging tax revenue on operating expenses of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists where such events and festivals are operated by non-governmental entities.  3.  A municipality may not provide advance payment to private organizations for tourism promotion; payment must occur after the services have been performed.
AGO 2006 No. 7 >  March 30, 2006
PUBLIC STADIUM AUTHORITY - PUBLIC FUNDS
Extent of obligation of professional football team to provide a profit and loss statement under RCW 36.102.060(8) RCW 36.102.060(8) does not require the master tenant lease between the public stadium authority and the team affiliate to contain a provision requiring the Seattle Seahawks football team to publicly disclose its annual audited profit and loss financial statement; this requirement relates solely to the team affiliate designated to serve as the master tenant of the stadium and exhibition center envisioned in the statutes.
AGO 2005 No. 1 >  February 2, 2005
COUNTIES - PUBLIC FUNDS - DONATIONS
Authority of a county to donate land and buildings to a nonprofit corporation operating programs for the developmentally disabled When a noncharter county has acquired land and/or buildings with funds derived from RCW 43.83D (Referendum 29) and/or RCW 43.99C (Referendum 37) and has leased the buildings to a nonprofit corporation operating programs for the developmentally disabled, and the lease has expired, the county lacks statutory authority to donate the buildings and lands to the lessee.
AGO 1991 No. 7 >  March 4, 1991
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE - TAXATION - PROPERTY - PUBLIC FUNDS - PUBLIC ASSISTANCE
DEPARTMENT OF REVENUE ‑- TAXATION ‑- PROPERTY ‑- PUBLIC FUNDS ‑- PUBLIC ASSISTANCE 1.  Article 7, section 1, of the Washington Constitution, provides that all taxes on real property be uniform.  House Bill 1297 which authorizes payments to certain people, calculated with reference to the taxes levied on their primary residence, does not violate the uniformity requirement. 2.  Article 11, section 9, of the Washington Constitution, prohibits releasing or discharging state taxes on a county, its inhabitants or its property.  The payment of assistance from funds appropriated for that purpose by the Legislature in House Bill 1297 does not constitute a release or discharge of the state property tax levied for the support of the common schools. 3.  Article 8, sections 5 and 7, of the Washington Constitution, prohibit gifts of public funds.  The payment of assistance to certain citizens authorized by House Bill 1297 is a gift of public funds because the payments do not carry out a fundamental governmental function and there is no consideration for the payments. 4.  Article 8, sections 5 and 7, of the Washington Constitution, do not prohibit gifts of public funds that are necessary for the support of the poor.  House Bill 1297 authorized assistance to persons with $30,000 or less of combined disposable income.  The question of whether House Bill 1297 constitutes assistance to the poor is, to some degree, a factual question and we cannot say precisely where the court will draw the line between assistance to the poor and an impermissible gift.  Some people with incomes of less than $30,000 are, undoubtedly, poor.  However, there is substantial doubt whether an individual with an annual income of $30,000 and no dependents is poor.  It is unlikely that a court would permit such a person to receive assistance pursuant to House Bill 1297.
AGO 1991 No. 8 >  March 11, 1991
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES - DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES - TIDELANDS - PUBLIC FUNDS - CULTIVATION OF CLAMS
DEPARTMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES ‑- DEPARTMENT OF FISHERIES ‑- TIDELANDS ‑- PUBLIC FUNDS ‑- CULTIVATION OF CLAMS 1.  Laws of 1919, ch. 166, which was repealed in 1949, granted owners of Bush Act tidelands the right to cultivate clams in addition to oysters.  Article 8, sections 5 and 7, of the Washington Constitution, prohibit gifts of public funds.  Under the court's contemporary construction of article 8, sections 5 and 7, Laws of 1919, ch. 166 is not clearly unconstitutional and anyone challenging the law would have a heavy burden of establishing beyond a reasonable doubt that the law is unconstitutional. 2.   Rights acquired under a statute can vest if one substantially changes position in reliance on the statute, even if it is later repealed.  The repeal of Laws of 1919, ch. 166, in 1949, did not extinguish the right to cultivate clams granted by the law for those owners of Bush Act tidelands who were cultivating clams in 1949 when the act was repealed.  3.   When the Legislature repealed Laws of 1919, ch. 166, it did not indicate how long any vested right to cultivate clams might continue.  The Legislature may adopted legislation to eliminate or phase out whatever vested rights remain to cultivate clams, provided that the conditions under which such rights are phased out or discontinued are reasonable.
AGO 2003 No. 7 >  September 23, 2003
SCHOOL DISTRICTS - SCHOOLS - PUBLIC FUNDS
Constitutionality of using school district funds to pay for the cost of providing meals in a school breakfast program where not all participating students meet federal income eligibility requirements It would not be unconstitutional for a school district to operate a school breakfast program in such a manner that public funds are used to pay the difference between the amount reimbursed by the federal government for providing meals to eligible students and the total cost of the program where (1) federal eligibility is based on income status; (2) districts would save substantial administrative costs in federal reporting requirements by using such a system; and (3) the school education program benefits where students are properly fed.
AGO 1991 No. 29 >  September 23, 1991
PUBLIC FUNDS - ANNUAL LEAVE - SICK LEAVE - COUNTIES - PUBLIC EMPLOYEES RETIREMENT SYSTEM
Applicability of Gift of Public Funds Prohibition and Contribution Requirements for Public Employees Retirement System to County Sick Leave Bank 1.  There is a proposal by a county to establish a sick leave bank.  Under the proposal employees who have accrued vacation leave or sick leave may donate the leave to the sick leave bank.  In the event of catastrophic illness or injury, employees who have exhausted their vacation leave and sick leave may apply to the sick leave bank for additional leave.  Article 8, section 7 of the Washington Constitution prohibits gifts of public funds.  The proposal is not a gift by the county.  There is consideration to the county since the donating employees performed service in order to accrue the donated leave.  There is donative intent on the part of the donating employee, not the county.   2.  Under RCW 41.40.010(8)(a), (b), vacation leave and sick leave donated to the sick leave bank are not compensation earnable of the employee making the donation.  Although the employee accrues the leave, he or she is never paid for it.  3.  Under RCW 41.40.010(8)(a), (b), leave paid from the sick leave bank is not compensation earnable.  Although the employee receives payments from the sick leave bank, the payments are not made in return for services to the county by the receiving employee.  The leave was accrued as a result of services performed by the donating employee.
AGO 2001 No. 7 >  September 17, 2001
PUBLIC FUNDS - CONSERVATION - PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICTS
Authority of Public Utility District to finance certain projects for the purpose of conserving electrical energy 1. Article VIII, section 10 of the Washington Constitution and RCW 54.16.280 do not authorize public utility districts to finance projects that involve the installation or operation of pellet stoves, solar power systems, wind turbines, geothermal energy systems, or mini-hydroelectric systems on private property, for the reason that these projects would involve conversion from one energy source to another.
AGO 2000 No. 5 >  July 5, 2000
STATE - EDUCATION - COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES - PUBLIC FUNDS
Authority of State Investment Board to invest funds in the advanced college tuition credit program in the stocks or other equities of private corporations It is consistent with the state constitution for the state investment board to use its statutory authority to purchase stocks and other corporate equities as part of its investment of funds in the advanced college tuition credit account.
AGO 1994 No. 12 >  September 2, 1994
FIRE PROTECTION DISTRICTS - CITIES - FIREFIGHTERS - PENSION LIABILITIES - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - ANNEXATION - PUBLIC FUNDS
Transfer of assets and liabilities of pension system upon annexation of a portion of one municipality's territory by another municipality 1.  If, through annexation or incorporation, a city acquires more than 60 percent, but less than 100 percent, of the assessed valuation of the real property of a fire protection district, all of the district's assets and a proportionate share of the district's liabilities, pension fund assets and liabilities excepted, are transferred to the city.  2.  If, through annexation or incorporation, a city acquires more than 60 percent, but less than 100 percent, of the assessed valuation of the real property of a fire protection district which has existing liabilities for pension obligations established pursuant to chapter 41.16 or 41.18 RCW, and has funds dedicated for the payment of such obligations, both the liabilities and the assets are retained by the fire protection district.
AGO 1994 No. 13 >  September 12, 1994
LEGISLATORS - STATE LEGISLATURE - PUBLIC FUNDS
Mailings by legislators at public expense 1.  Neither house of the Washington State Legislature has authority to adopt a rule or a policy on mailings by legislators at public expense which would supersede the provisions of RCW 42.17.132, a statute on the same subject.  2.  The language in RCW 42.17.132 generally limiting legislators at certain times to mailings to constituents "in direct response to . . . [a] request" does not require that the request be explicit, but requires some evidence that the addressees of a legislative communication had shown an interest in the legislator's view on the subject, or in obtaining other relevant information.
AGO 1994 No. 15 >  September 19, 1994
COURTS - SUPERIOR COURTS - FILING FEES - PUBLIC FUNDS - STATE TREASURER - COUNTY TREASURER - LAW LIBRARIES
Procedures for dividing filing fees received on superior court cases between the state and county treasuries, and calculating the amount due to the county law library fund 1.  Current law requires county treasurers to remit to the state treasurer 46 percent of all superior court filing fees covered by RCW 36.18.020 before calculating any amounts due to the county or regional law library fund.  2.  After remitting the state's share of superior court filing fees to the state treasurer, county treasurers are required by RCW 27.24.070 to deposit an amount in the county or regional law library fund equal to $12 times the number of civil or probate fees paid in connection with the filing of a new matter.
AGO 1988 No. 18 >  September 22, 1988
BUDGET AND APPROPRIATION ACTS - ECOLOGY DEPARTMENT - PUBLIC FUNDS
ECOLOGY DEPARTMENT In distributing funds for water pollution control projects under chapter 70.146 RCW (Water Pollution Control Facilities Financing), the Department of Ecology is required to distribute funds according to percentages set forth in RCW 70.146.060, those percentages to be applied to the total amount distributed over an eight-year period, but the Department is not required to stay within those percentages in any given fiscal year (except as to a percentage statutorily set aside for the State Conservation Commission).
AGO 1988 No. 26 >  November 1, 1988
TREASURER - COUNTIES - CITIES - PUBLIC FUNDS - DELEGATION OF POWERS - INVESTMENTS - LETTER OF CREDIT
DEBT LIMITATIONS 1.When RCW 39.59.020(4) authorizes municipal treasurers to invest in " . . . any investments authorized by law for the treasurer of the state of Washington ..." and the state treasurer is authorized by law to invest in commercial paper by RCW 43.84.080(7) but only to the extent consistent with the policy of the State Investment Board, the legal limitations on the state and on municipal treasurers are confined to formally adopted policies of the State Investment Board, and neither the state nor municipal treasurers are bound by State Investment Board policies which are informal or unwritten.2.A municipal treasurer may not lawfully delegate authority to redeem warrants to a banking institution or other party outside the treasurer's office.3.A municipal treasurer may lawfully secure a line of credit for warrant redemption with a bank, to the extent permitted by RCW 39.58.170.4.A municipal treasurer may in certain circumstances secure a letter of credit from a bank for warrant redemption purposes, but only to guarantee payment of warrants the treasurer is statutorily authorized to pay.5.A letter or line of credit is a contingent liability and does not constitute a borrowing by a municipal corporation for purposes of applying constitutional or statutory debt or borrowing limitations; the borrowing occurs if the letter of line of credit is actually drawn down.
AGO 1995 No. 10 >  August 24, 1995
TAXATION - PUBLIC FUNDS - COUNTIES - CITIES AND TOWNS - TOURISM - USE OF EXCISE TAXES LEVIED UNDER RCW 67.28.210 FOR PRODUCTION AND SALE OF SHIRTS PROMOTING LOCAL COMMUNITY EVENT
TAXATION - PUBLIC FUNDS - COUNTIES - CITIES AND TOWNS - TOURISM - USE OF EXCISE TAXES LEVIED UNDER RCW 67.28.210 FOR PRODUCTION AND SALE OF SHIRTS PROMOTING LOCAL COMMUNITY EVENT 1.  The term "tourist expansion" as used in RCW 67.28.210 refers to activities designed to increase tourism and tourist activity in a given geographical area.   2.  RCW 67.28.210 does not generally permit counties or cities to use tax revenues generated thereunder for the production or resale of shirts containing the logo of an annual community event; however, the proviso added to the statute by Laws of 1995, Ch. 290, section 1 does permit the proceeds to be used for advertising and promotional materials, which might include promotional shirts, where the conditions set forth in the proviso are met.   3.  RCW 67.28.210 governs the expenditure of revenues authorized by its language; RCW 35.21.700 is a more general statute covering expenditure by cities of other available revenues.
AGO 1995 No. 11 >  August 30, 1995
LAW ENFORCEMENT - CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES - PUBLIC FUNDS - USE OF PROCEEDS FROM FORFEITURE OF PROPERTY USED IN ILLEGAL DRUG ACTIVITY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY NOT RELATED EXCLUSIVELY TO CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES
LAW ENFORCEMENT - CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES - PUBLIC FUNDS - USE OF PROCEEDS FROM FORFEITURE OF PROPERTY USED IN ILLEGAL DRUG ACTIVITY FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ACTIVITY NOT RELATED EXCLUSIVELY TO CONTROLLED... RCW 69.50.505(i) allows the use of drug proceeds for activities that relate to controlled substances but incidentally further other law enforcement purposes.
AGO 1993 No. 8 >  April 27, 1993
STATE - CITIES AND TOWNS - COUNTIES - TREASURER - FUNDS - INVESTMENTS - PUBLIC FUNDS
Ability of state and local governments to invest in commercial paper 1.  Article 8, sections 5 and 7, and article 12, section 9 of the Washington Constitution prohibit gifts or loans of public money or credit and the acquisition of interests in private stocks or bonds. 2.  RCW 43.84.080(7) authorizes the state treasurer, under certain circumstances, to invest public funds in commercial paper.  RCW 39.59.020 empowers local governments to make investments authorized by law for the state treasurer. 3.  Under article 8, sections 5 and 7, and article 12, section 9 of the Washington Constitution, state and local governments can invest in commercial paper purchased on the secondary market.
AGO 1997 No. 4 >  October 7, 1997
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS - EDUCATION - SCHOOLS - RELIGION - PUBLIC FUNDS - COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES - INCLUDING PRIVATELY-OPERATED SCHOOLS AND COLLEGES IN K-20 EDUCATIONAL NETWORK
DEPARTMENT OF INFORMATION SYSTEMS - EDUCATION - SCHOOLS - RELIGION - PUBLIC FUNDS - COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES - Including privately-operated schools and colleges in K-20 Educational Network 1.It would not violate article VIII, section 7, of the state constitution to include privately-owned and operated schools and colleges in the K-20 Educational Network, provided that the private schools and colleges provide consideration in the form of monetary payment and valuable services. 2.It would not violate article I, section 11, or article IX, section 4, of the state constitution to include religiously-affiliated schools and colleges in the K-20 Educational Network, provided that there is consideration in the form of monetary payment and services, and provided that the Network is not operated in such a way as to violate the constitution.  
AGO 1997 No. 5 >  October 6, 1997
STATE - COUNTIES - CITIES AND TOWNS - MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - PUBLIC FUNDS - RELATIONSHIP OF INTERGOVERNMENTAL DISPOSITION OF PROPERTY ACT TO RCW 43.09.210
STATE - COUNTIES - CITIES AND TOWNS- MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS - PUBLIC FUNDS - Relationship of Intergovernmental Disposition of Property Act to RCW 43.09.210 1.When one government disposes of property to another government pursuant to chapter 39.33 RCW, RCW 43.09.210 requires that the transferring government receive "full value" for the transfer; "full value" has a flexible meaning depending on the circumstances of the transfer.2.RCW 39.33.020, which requires public notice and a hearing before a government disposes of property having a value of more than $50,000, applies only to intergovernmental transfers of property made pursuant to chapter 39.33 RCW.
AGO 1998 No. 8 >  July 30, 1998
PUBLIC FUNDS - SCHOOLS - RELIGION - EMPLOYERS AND EMPLOYEES
Constitutionality of proposed legislation providing background checks for private school employees at public expense 1.  It would not be a gift of public funds or lending of state credit to require fingerprint-background checks of current employees of private schools, and to appropriate state funds to pay for such checks. 2.  A proposed bill which would appropriate state funds to pay for fingerprint-background checks on all employees of private schools would not, as written, violate the state constitutional prohibitions against applying public funds or property in support of religion.
AGO 1953 No. 507 >  March 24, 1953
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS - LOBBYING - PUBLIC OFFICERS - PUBLIC FUNDS
COUNTY COMMISSIONERS ‑- LOBBYING ‑- PUBLIC OFFICERS ‑- PUBLIC FUNDS. It is not illegal for the executive secretary of the Washington State Association of County Commissioners to act as a lobbyist during legislative sessions, notwithstanding the fact that his salary is paid from public funds.
AGLO 1976 No. 38 >  June 14, 1976
OFFICES AND OFFICERS - STATE - TREASURER - PUBLIC FUNDS - BANKS
LIMITATION UPON PUBLIC FUNDS (1) The limitation in RCW 39.58.130 upon public deposits with a particular bank or trust company applies to all funds, in the aggregate, deposited by a county treasurer rather than separately to the funds of each municipality served by such treasurer. (2) The protections of chapter 39.58 RCW extend to all public funds on deposit with qualified depositaries irrespective of the limitations of RCW 39.58.130 and without regard to the reasons attributable to the violation of the statutory restriction.
AGO 2009 No. 5 >  August 27, 2009
SEWER DISTRICTS - PUBLIC FUNDS - GIFT OF PUBLIC FUNDS - GIFTS - LOANS
Use of public funds to repair or replace side sewers Municipal sewer districts have statutory authority to use public funds to repair or replace side sewers located on private property if doing so will increase sewer capacity by reducing infiltration and inflow.  Use of public funds to do so does not constitute an unconstitutional gift or loan of public funds if the district acts without donative intent and can demonstrate that the action will result in significant benefit to the public.
AGO 2013 No. 2 >  August 20, 2013
DISTRICT, IRRIGATION - CONTRACTS - STATUTORY AUTHORITY - PUBLIC FUNDS
Authority Of Irrigation Districts To Indemnify The United States


Irrigation districts have the statutory authority to enter into contracts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation, but lack the statutory authority to indemnify the United States through such contracts.


AGO 2013 No. 3 >  August 21, 2013
DISTRICT, PUBLIC HOSPITAL - HOSPITALS - PUBLIC FUNDS - HEALTH - CONTRACTS
Whether A Public Hospital District Violates RCW 9.02 If It Contracts With A Provider Of Health Care Services That Declines To Provide Certain Services

 

A public hospital district that provides, directly or by contract, maternity care benefits, services, or information to women, through any program administered or funded in whole or in part by the district, must also provide the substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information required by RCW 9.02.160 and .100.

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