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AGO 1957 No. 110 - August 15, 1957
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John J. O'Connell | 1957-1968 | Attorney General of Washington


LIQUOR CONTROL BOARD ‑- LIQUOR REVOLVING FUND ‑- COUNTY DISTRIBUTION.STATE TREASURER ‑- LIQUOR EXCISE TAX FUND ‑- COUNTY DISTRIBUTION.

The liquor control board must compute and distribute funds in the liquor revolving fund to counties based upon population as shown by the last federal or official county census, whichever is later, undiminished by incorporations and annexations.

The state treasurer must apportion and distribute funds in the liquor excise tax fund to counties based upon population as shown by the last federal or official county census, whichever is later, undiminished by incorporations and annexations.

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                                                                 August 15, 1957

Washington State Liquor Control Board
Public Lands-Social Security Building
Olympia, Washington                                                                                                              Cite as:  AGO 57-58 No. 110

Attention:  Mr. Don G. Abel, Chairman

Gentlemen:

            This is in answer to your request for an opinion concerning the effect of chapter 175, Laws of 1957, upon the distribution of state liquor funds to counties.  We paraphrase your questions as follows:

            (1) Is the liquor control board required to compute and distribute funds in the liquor revolving fund to counties based upon the population as shown by the last federal or official county census, whichever is later, undiminished by incorporations and annexations to cities and towns?

            (2) Is the state treasurer required to apportion and distribute funds in the liquor  [[Orig. Op. Page 2]] excise tax fund to counties based upon the same population as stated in question No. (1)?

            We answer both of your questions in the affirmative.

                                                                     ANALYSIS

            Chapter 175, Laws of 1957, is a general act relating to state government and providing for the allocation by various state officers of certain tax revenues to counties, cities and towns.  It was signed by the governor on March 21, 1957, and since it contained an emergency clause, became effective immediately.

            Section 7 of the act (RCW 43.66.100), concerning distribution of funds in the liquor revolving fund to counties, provides as follows:

            "With respect to the ten percent share coming to the counties, the computations for distribution shall be made by the state agency responsible for collecting the same as follows:

            "The share coming to each eligible county shall be determined by a division among the eligible counties according to the relation which the population of the unincorporated area of such eligible county, as shown by the last federal or official county census, whichever is the later, bears to the population of the total combined unincorporated areas of all eligible counties, as shown by such census: . . ."  (Emphasis supplied.)

            Section 16 of the act provides as follows:

            "The allocation of state funds to cities and towns for the calendar year 1957 shall be made on the basis of the laws in effect prior to the effective date of this act."

            One of the laws in effect prior to the effective date of chapter 175 is RCW 35.13.260, which provided prior to its amendment by chapter 175 that whenever any territory was to be determined by count:

            ". . . and the population so determined shall be added to the official population of the annexing city and subtracted from the official population of the unincorporated area of the county in  [[Orig. Op. Page 3]] which the annexed territory is located; and when certified as hereinafter provided shall become the official population of the unincorporated area of the county and city, respectively, until another population figure is determined therefor under law.  The count of the number of dwelling units as herein provided shall be made and a certificate filed with the secretary of state within thirty days following the annexation showing the boundaries of the annexed territory and the population of the city including that added by the annexation and the population of the unincorporated area of the county with the subtraction of the population of the annexed territory as herein provided, and, such population shall thereafter be used for allocating all state funds and for all other purposes until a new population is fixed for the county and city in accordance with law."

            Prior to its specific repeal by chapter 175, Laws of 1957, RCW 43.66.120 required the state auditor to make computations for distribution of liquor funds between counties and between cities and towns, and file with the liquor control board a certified list showing the fractional proportions coming to each county and city or town in the state.  The last certified list filed with the board is dated March 1, 1957, and shows that the population of unincorporated areas of the state as shown by the 1950 federal decennial census has been decreased by incorporations and annexations subsequent to that date.  The deduction of population in areas annexed to cities from the population of unincorporated areas of counties was based on RCW 35.13.260.  (See also AGO 55-57 No. 53 [[to Charles O. Carroll, Prosecuting Attorney, King County on April 6, 1955]].)

            Section 14, chapter 175, Laws of 1957, amends RCW 35.13.260 to provide that the population of an annexed territory shall be added to the population of the city or town as determined by the board, but it does not provide for the subtraction of the population of the annexed territory from the population of the unincorporated area of the county in which the annexed territory is located.  A comparison of the language of RCW 35.13.260, before and after its amendment by § 14, indicates clearly that population of an area annexed to a city should not be subtracted from the population of the unincorporated area of the county in which the annexed territory is located.

            RCW 35.13.260, as it existed prior to its amendment by § 14, continues to apply to the allocation of funds to cities and towns for the balance of the calendar year 1957 pursuant to § 16 of the act.  However, since § 16 refers only to cities and towns, it is clear that it has no application to counties.

            We conclude therefore that the liquor control board must compute and distribute funds in the liquor revolving fund to counties in accordance with § 7 of  [[Orig. Op. Page 4]] the act (RCW 43.66.100) based upon the population as shown by the last federal or official county census, whichever is later, undiminished by annexations or incorporations, subsequent to said census.

            In answer to your second question, section 3, chapter 396, Laws of 1955 (RCW 82.08.170), requires the state treasurer to apportion and distribute twenty per cent of the moneys in the liquor excise tax fund to the counties of the state in accordance with the provisions of RCW 43.66.100, as now existing or as hereinafter amended.  We therefore conclude that the state treasurer must apportion and distribute funds in the liquor excise tax fund to counties based upon the same population figures as those used by the liquor control board,supra.

            We have been informed that the liquor control board and the state treasurer have made distributions of funds since March 21, 1957, based upon the certified list prepared by the state auditor dated March 1, 1957, said population schedule being effective as of February 19, 1957.  Subsequent distributions should be made in accordance with the conclusions expressed herein and necessary adjustments made to counties to correct distributions made subsequent to March 21, 1957.

            We trust that the foregoing will be of assistance to you.

Very truly yours,

JOHN J. O'CONNELL
Attorney General

ARTHUR MICKEY
Assistant Attorney General

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