Local Government Fiscal Note Program

The Local Government Fiscal Note Program helps elected leaders understand the fiscal impacts that proposed state legislation could have on counties, cities, and most special purpose districts.

Our experienced team of analysts produces the largest number of fiscal notes of any state agency. The Local Government Fiscal Note Program was founded by the Legislature in 1977.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are local government fiscal notes used?
Our notes are used by legislators and the public prior to hearings and updated as bills are modified. Local government fiscal notes are part of a larger fiscal note packet sent to the policy and appropriations committees of each house and available to members of the public online.


Do you cover all local jurisdictions?
We cover counties, cities, and most special purpose districts. Our notes include prosecution and defense costs but not other court-related costs, which are addressed by the Administrative Office of the Courts. The Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction assesses impacts on school districts.


What is the range of topics you cover?
We address almost any issue that could impact local governments. Some examples are taxes, criminal justice, economic development, land use, social services, natural resources, government operations, elections, and public works. That is why we possess a broad range of policy experts.

 
How do you assess fiscal impacts?
Fiscal impacts of legislation are determined through surveys, data models, review of published reports and online databases, and direct consultation with state and local government officials. Fiscal note analysts also work closely with local government associations (see right sidebar).


What are the Local Government Fiscal Note Program’s enabling statutes?
Washington’s local government fiscal note process was established in 1977 through 43.132 RCW. Local government fiscal notes provide the Legislature with the information it needs to uphold 43.135.060 RCW. This statute requires the state to mitigate the impact of legislation that requires local governments to create or expand services if these costs are not reimbursed through specific state appropriations or increases in state distributions of revenue to local governments enacted after January 1, 1998.


How are your notes different from those of other state agencies?

Our fiscal notes analyze the cost impacts on hundreds of local governments at the municipal, county, and special district level while other state agency notes focus only on their operation costs. State statute gives us five days to respond to fiscal note requests from the Office of Financial Management, while the statutory deadline for agency notes is three days.


Do other states have a similar program?
Yes. We are one of 42 similar programs across the United States.

Need assistance?

Alice Zillah, Research Services Manager
alice.zillah@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-5035

Allan Johnson
allan.johnson@commerce.wa.gov
Phone: 360-725-5033