Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 1988 NO. 6 >

Chapter 74.21 RCW does not authorized the random assignment of new applicants for public assistance between the new family independence program and the existing assistance program.

AGO 1991 NO. 7 >

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 1955 NO. 123 >

1. The crime of fraudulently obtaining public assistance must be charged under RCW 74.08.330 in the public assistance title. 2.  That crime may not be punished as a grand larceny, but only as a gross misdemeanor.

AGO 1958 NO. 218 >

The department of public assistance is legally authorized to use federal funds for the purpose of paying training grants to persons within the child welfare program.

AGO 1954 NO. 290 >

The Department of Public Assistance's responsibility under RCW 74.08.120 to provide funds for funeral expenses for persons dying without assets is absolute and not relieved or lessened by virtue of the provisions of RCW 68.08.160.

AGO 1954 NO. 322 >

The State Department of Health may consider the cost of adapting an existing county facility to the care of senile patients, in determining the contract price to be paid a county for services rendered in caring for public assistance recipients and medical indigents.

AGO 1956 NO. 352 >

County funds may not be obligated or expended, in conjunction with the State Department of Public Assistance, to provide facilities for or distribute surplus commodities donated by the United States Government through the Department of Agriculture.