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ESSB 6050 was adopted by the Legislature in 2005 to provide financial assistance to cities and counties.  The statute can be found in RCW 43.08.290.  The program is funded by a portion of the State real estate excise tax (REET).   Eligibility is determined in March of each year for the following four quarters and distributions are made quarterly in April, July, October, and January.  Each quarter, the city-county assistance account balance is divided in half and distributed to eligible cities and counties.  Distributions are ratably reduced for insufficient funds and any excess revenues are distributed by population.

Distributions are determined by complex formulas that depend on sales tax revenues relative to the statewide average and some other criteria depending on population. 

SB 5511 changed the distribution beginning January 2010. It improves the accuracy of determining the distribution amounts to cities and counties from the city-county assistance account by clarifying the data inputs and using the most recent data.  Without this bill, some jurisdictions could be compensated twice for the same sales tax loss while other distressed cities and counties would receive less than they otherwise would be entitled. 

Summarized distribution formulas:

2016 City and County Distributions

2016 Recertification and Quarterly Distribution Estimates

For questions about city-county assistance distributions, contact Diana Tibbetts at Dianat@dor.wa.gov or (360) 534-1520.