Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

AGO 2005 NO. 1 >

When a noncharter county has acquired land and/or buildings with funds derived from RCW 43.83D (Referendum 29) and/or RCW 43.99C (Referendum 37) and has leased the buildings to a nonprofit corporation operating programs for the developmentally disabled, and the lease has expired, the county lacks statutory authority to donate the buildings and lands to the lessee.

AGO 2013 NO. 2 >

Irrigation districts have the statutory
authority to enter into contracts with the United States Bureau of Reclamation,
but lack the statutory authority to indemnify the United States through such

AGO 2013 NO. 3 >


A public hospital district that provides, directly or by contract, maternity care benefits, services, or information to women, through any program administered or funded in whole or in part by the district, must also provide the substantially equivalent benefits, services, or information required by RCW 9.02.160 and .100.

AGO 2006 NO. 4 >

1.  A municipality lacks authority to allocate lodging tax revenue to operate a tourism-related facility in which the municipality has no ownership interest.  2.  A municipality may not spend lodging tax revenue on operating expenses of special events and festivals designed to attract tourists where such events and festivals are operated by non-governmental entities.  3.  A municipality may not provide advance payment to private organizations for tourism promotion; payment must occur after the services have been performed.

AGO 1997 NO. 4 >

1.It would not violate article VIII, section 7, of the state constitution to include privately-owned and operated schools and colleges in the K-20 Educational Network, provided that the private schools and colleges provide consideration in the form of monetary payment and valuable services. 2.It would not violate article I, section 11, or article IX, section 4, of the state constitution to include religiously-affiliated schools and colleges in the K-20 Educational Network, provided that there is consideration in the form of monetary payment and services, and provided that the Network is not operated in such a way as to violate the constitution.  

AGO 1997 NO. 5 >

1.When one government disposes of property to another government pursuant to chapter 39.33 RCW, RCW 43.09.210 requires that the transferring government receive "full value" for the transfer; "full value" has a flexible meaning depending on the circumstances of the transfer.2.RCW 39.33.020, which requires public notice and a hearing before a government disposes of property having a value of more than $50,000, applies only to intergovernmental transfers of property made pursuant to chapter 39.33 RCW.

AGO 2009 NO. 5 >

Municipal sewer districts have statutory authority to use public funds to repair or replace side sewers located on private property if doing so will increase sewer capacity by reducing infiltration and inflow.  Use of public funds to do so does not constitute an unconstitutional gift or loan of public funds if the district acts without donative intent and can demonstrate that the action will result in significant benefit to the public.

AGO 2000 NO. 5 >

It is consistent with the state constitution for the state investment board to use its statutory authority to purchase stocks and other corporate equities as part of its investment of funds in the advanced college tuition credit account.

AGO 2006 NO. 7 >

RCW 36.102.060(8) does not require the master tenant lease between the public stadium authority and the team affiliate to contain a provision requiring the Seattle Seahawks football team to publicly disclose its annual audited profit and loss financial statement; this requirement relates solely to the team affiliate designated to serve as the master tenant of the stadium and exhibition center envisioned in the statutes.

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.