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AGO 1949 No. 172 - December 05, 1949
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Smith Troy | 1941-1952 | Attorney General of Washington

VETERANS' BONUS -- EXPENDITURES

Auditor authorized to issue warrants for all necessary administration expenses in advance of sale of bonus bonds.

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                                                                December 5, 1949

Honorable Cliff Yelle
State Auditor
Legislative Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 49-51 No. 172

Dear Sir:

            We have your letter of November 29, 1949, in which you ask the following question:

            "Chapter 180, Laws of 1949, which was recently declared constitutional by the State Supreme Court, provides for payment of a bonus to veterans to be financed by the sale of bonds in the maximum amount of $80,000,000.00.  However, certain problems have arisen in regard to administration of the Act.  A number of employees are now on our payroll, and in addition thereto, it becomes necessary for us to purchase certain equipment and supplies in anticipation of taking care of these payments when applications for the bonus have been processed.

            "However, at present there is no money in the War Veteran's Compensation Fund in the State Treasury, with which to redeem these warrants.  Will you therefore kindly advise us if the State Auditor is authorized, under § 6 of the Act, to issue warrants in payment of such funds as he may find necessary, in anticipation of the sale of the bonds and the subsequent redemption of the warrants so issued."

            The conclusions reached may be summarized as follows:

             Orig. Op. Page 2

            The State Auditor may issue warrants for all necessary expenses incurred by him in the administration of the act.  Such warrants may be issued in anticipation of the sale of bonds therein authorized.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 180, Laws of 1949, provides for the payment of a bonus to the veterans of World War II, specifying the persons who are entitled to receive the bonus, determining the legal machinery for the sale and disposal of the bonds issued to secure the money necessary to pay the bonus, and defining the duties of certain state officials in relation to the payments to veterans, the sale of the bonds, and the collection of taxes to retire them.  § 3 of the act establishes in the state treasury a fund entitled the "War Veterans' Compensation Fund."

            Section 4 of the act provides in part that:

            "* * * The State Auditor is hereby authorized and directed to procure such printing, office supplies and equipment and to employ such persons as may be necessary in order to properly carry out the provisions of this act, and all expenses incurred by him in the administration of this act shall be paid by warrants drawn upon the War Veterans' Compensation Fund."

            By the provisions of section 6:

            "The State Auditor may, in his discretion, issue warrants under the provisions of this act in anticipation of the sale of the bonds herein authorized."

            Section 7 of the act authorizes the issuance and sale of limited obligation bonds of the State of Washington as in the sum of eighty million dollars.

            Section 8, for the purposes of carrying out the provisions of the act, appropriates the sum of eighty million dollars and enjoins that the money arising from the sale of bonds be deposited in the War Veterans' Compensation Fund which shall be used for paying the bonus and for paying the expenses of the administration thereof.

            The act was, with one exception herein immaterial, declared constitutional by our Supreme Court in its recent decision of Gruen v. The State  Orig. Op. Page 3 Tax Commission, 135 Wash. Dec. 1.  35 Wn.2d 1 We are of the opinion that the language of § 6 above quoted is clear and unambiguous and that when it is read in connection with the other portions of the act, likewise quoted above, the conclusion must follow that the legislature in enacting the measure was fully cognizant of the fact that certain machinery must be set in motion before any bonds could be sold, that the cost thereof would have to be met, and that until the sale of the bonds was accomplished there would be no moneys in the War Veterans' Compensation Fund.  We further believe that the legislature intended that vast and cumbersome task of distributing the bonus moneys to the veterans entitled thereto should be expedited in so far as possible and that it was likewise for the purpose of allowing the auditor to set in motion the machinery for such distribution in advance of the date that bonds might be sold, that § 6 was included within the provisions of the act.

            It is, therefore, our conclusion that the State Auditor is authorized, prior to the receipt of any moneys in the treasury to the credit of War Veterans' Compensation Fund, to incur expenses for the purposes of selling and issuing the bonds authorized by the act and of setting up advance machinery and obtaining the supplies and materials necessary to an expeditious distribution of the bonus.

Yours very truly,

SMITH TROY
Attorney General

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