Research Services

The Research Services Section includes several municipal research programs as well as a research and project management services arm. The latter operates with ad hoc, cross-functional teams that are skilled in tackling unusual and challenging research and program development assignments. 


Policymakers make better decisions when they have all of the facts. That’s why the Local Government Fiscal Note Program was created 38 years ago. We provide the Legislature with objective estimates of the financial impacts of proposed legislation on counties, cities, and most special purpose districts. Our experienced team of analysts researches almost any bill or initiative that could change local government revenues or expenditures.

Since 1993, the Department of Commerce has worked with designated state agencies to provide an annual inventory of real property that is state-owned and available for lease. The purpose of this inventory is to encourage effective use of surplus property for the development of affordable housing.

Your public-private partnership may be eligible for tax-exempt bonds. We authorize the issuance of tax-exempt private activity bonds. These can be a valuable funding option for some public-private partnerships. Our staff review proposed projects to ensure compliance with federal and state law.

This is your one-stop source of information about public debt within Washington State. We collect and analyze data on debt issuances and produce an annual report on local general-obligation bond indebtedness.

We facilitate independent financial feasibility reviews for proposed public facilities district (PFD) projects. The Department of Commerce’s role is not to approve or reject a PFD’s plan, but to facilitate a third-party review in support of the PFD and their partner’s planning efforts.

The research and project management support you need—when you need it. We provide research and project management assistance to teams within Commerce as well as to other state and local agencies. We holds a wide range of policy review, stakeholder engagement, data analysis, project development, and research expertise.

Over the last decade we have completed more than 100 projects, which have ranged from quick number-crunching exercises to the management of all aspects of six-figure legislative studies.

The Municipal Research and Services Center offers practical information on a wide range of topics of importance to local governments. The Department of Commerce provides state funding to the MRSC under RCW 43.110. Research Services manages the contract.