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AGO 1952 No. 346 - July 09, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington


A public hospital district may issue warrants in anticipation of tax revenues in an amount not to exceed the anticipated revenues from all sources for one year.

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                                                                     July 9, 1952

State Finance Committee
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 346

Attention:  Ernest Minor, Secretary


            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of July 2, 1952, in which you ask our opinion on the following question:

            "May a Hospital District legally issue and have outstanding at any time during a calendar year registered interest bearing warrants equal to the estimated and uncollected revenue from all sources for said year, or is the issuance of such warrants limited to the amount of ad valorem taxes that have been levied for the District and remain uncollected?"

            It is our conclusion that a hospital district may issue and have outstanding registered interest bearing warrants equal to the estimated and uncollected revenue from all sources for the year.


            The powers of a hospital district are set forth in RCW 70.44.060 (§ 18, chapter 197, Laws of 1949; RRS 6090-35).  Subsection (5) of that section reads as follows:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 2]]

            "To contract indebtedness or borrow money for corporate purposes on the credit of the corporation or the revenues of the hospitals thereof, and issue bonds therefor, bearing interest at a rate not exceeding six percent per year, payable semiannually, the bonds not to be sold for less than par and accrued interest."

            Subsection (6) concludes with the following:

            "* * * The commission may, prior to the receipt of taxes raised by levy, borrow money or issue warrants of the district in anticipation of the revenue to be derived from the levy of taxes for the district, and the warrants shall be redeemed from the first money available from such taxes when collected, and the warrants shall not exceed the anticipated revenues of one year, and shall bear interest at a rate of not to exceed six percent per year."

            Subsection (5) above quoted permits a hospital district to contract indebtedness without stating any limitation but specifies that the indebtedness shall be evidenced by bonds.  Subsection (6) authorizes the issuance of warrants in anticipation of taxes and prescribes that taxes shall be first applied in retirement of such warrants.  The only limitation contained in this statute is that the warrants "shall not exceed the anticipated revenues for one year."  This language does not specify revenues from taxes.  The best test of what the legislature intended is what is said, and since it used the term "anticipated revenues" without qualification, it is our opinion that there is no authority to read into the sentence a limitation which would confine the language to tax revenues.  Therefore, it is our opinion that the limitation relates to the total anticipated revenues, both from tax and non-tax [[nontax]]sources.

Very truly yours,

Attorney General

Assistant Attorney General

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