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AGO 1952 No. 305 - May 13, 1952
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

GOVERNOR'S EMERGENCY FUND

An appropriation for boiler inspection limited to the amount collected in fees may be supplemented by the Governor from funds appropriated to him for allocation to state departments.

                                                                 - - - - - - - - - - - - -

                                                                   May 13, 1952

Honorable E. D. Brabrook
Director of Budget
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 51-53 No. 305

Dear Sir:

            Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of May 6, 1952, in which you point out that chapter 32, Laws of 1951 (chapter 70.79 RCW) provides for the inspection of boilers and unfired pressure vessels, but the only provision for its financing for the current biennium is the appropriation contained in chapter 3, Laws of the Second Ex. Sess. of 1951, on page 21 of the Temporary Session Laws, which reads:

            "FROM THE GENERAL FUND

            "* * *

            "For the Department of Labor and Industries:

            "* * *

            "To carry out provisions of chapter 32, Laws of 1951 (Expenditures not to exceed receipts from inspection fees) $25,000.00"

            According to your letter it has become obvious that the amounts collected in fees could not balance against the expenditures incurred for services, salaries, equipment, expenses, etc. and the auditor has declined to make any further  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] withdrawals against the $25,000.00 appropriation as of April 30, 1952, since the income has been exceeded.  You have requested our opinion as to whether the governor's emergency fund is available to finance the operation of this program in view of the rider attached to the appropriation.

            It is our conclusion that it is within the discretion of the governor to allocate funds to the Department of Labor and Industries to permit the carrying on of this program.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            It seems apparent from the language of the appropriation item that the legislature contemplated that chapter 32, Laws of 1951, would be self-sustaining.  However, it has apparently not proved to be so.  The appropriation item names a figure of $25,000.00.  Attached to the item is the rider "expenditures not to exceed receipts from inspection fees."  This rider limits the amount available for expenditure under this appropriation just as effectively as though an amount of less than $25,000 had actually been stated.  The effect of this rider is to make the appropriation inadequate to carry out the provisions of the statute.

            The legislature has given to the governor two funds from which he may provide for departments whose appropriations prove inadequate.  One of these funds is based upon section 10, chapter 9, Laws of 1925, as last amended by section 1, chapter 126, Laws of 1933 (RCW 43.86.100).  This is an emergency fund which by its terms is available "whenever an emergency shall arise necessitating an expenditure for the preservation of peace, health or safety or for the carrying on of the necessary work required by law of any department for which insufficient or no appropriations have been made."  It is limited to $250,000 and is available when the governor honors a sworn statement submitted by the head of a department setting forth the facts constituting the emergency and estimating the amount required.

            The other fund which the governor has available is one of two million dollars governed entirely by the language of the appropriation itself.  This is contained in chapter 3, Laws of Second Ex. Sess. of 1951 and is found on page 32 of the Temporary Session Laws.  The appropriation item reads:

            "FROM THE GENERAL FUND

            "* * *

            "For the Governor:

             [[Orig. Op. Page 3]]

            "To be allocated to various state departments, officers and institutions for salaries, wages, operations, and emergency construction or repairs of public buildings:  Provided, That this appropriation shall become available only upon filing with the Secretary of State, from time to time, allotments to said departments, offices and institutions, setting forth the purpose and amount allotted therefor, approved by the Governor!tr$2,000,000.00"

            It will be noted that the allocation of this latter fund is not conditioned upon the existence of an emergency.  It seems apparent that the legislature contemplated that from this appropriation money in excess of the amounts which it specifically appropriated could, at the discretion of the governor, be made available, from time to time, to various state departments, officers and institutions.

            Your letter expresses some doubt as to whether an emergency exists in this case.  While the lack of emergency might prevent making available the smaller fund which the governor has, it would not prevent the governor from making available money from the two million dollar fund.  We regard the limitation upon the appropriation for carrying out the provisions of chapter 32, Laws of 1951, as no different in principle from the situation created when an inadequate figure has been named in an appropriation act.

            In our opinion the governor may supplement the appropriation made by the legislature in this case from the two million dollar appropriation made available to him in exactly the same manner as he might supplement any other appropriation which should prove inadequate in his judgment for the carrying out of the functions of a state department.

Very truly yours,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

LYLE L. IVERSEN
Assistant Attorney General

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