Per RCW 82.14.330, the Legislature authorizes the distribution of funds from the Municipal Criminal Justice Assistance (MCJA) Account to local governments to support essential public safety functions and activities. A portion of the MCJA Account specifically funds: (1) Innovative Law Enforcement, (2) At-Risk or Abused Children, (3) Reducing Domestic Violence, and (4) Contracting for Law Enforcement Services.

Even though Initiative 695 eliminated the Motor Vehicle Excise Tax (MVET) as a major revenue source for the MCJA Account, the State General Fund continues to support these services. Without the revenue variances formerly experienced with MVET, local cities’ program funding will remain consistent with the prior year’s funding level, and will increase slightly each year by the fiscal growth factor. Funding is transferred electronically to cities and towns each quarter through the Office of the State Treasurer.

In 2003, a bill was passed eliminating the cities’ requirement to apply annually to the Department of Commerce for Areas (1) through (4) (above). Areas (1) through (3) have been combined under a new title, “Criminal Justice Special Programs,” with BARS code 336.06.26; area 4 remains under BARS code 336.06.25. Even though the quarterly payment is combined, the original intent was to support services in all three areas as follows: Area 1 (26 percent) – Area 2 (37 percent) and Area 3 (37 percent).

Area 4 remains “Criminal Justice Contracting,” and will continue to be distributed by the State Treasurer’s Office based on previous application information, or as follows. Each year, cities newly qualifying for this funding must notify the Department of Commerce in writing by Nov. 30 for the upcoming calendar year. Cities have the responsibility also to notify the Department of Commerce of any changes in their contractual arrangements for law enforcement services that would make them ineligible for this funding. Adjustments in the distribution formula to add or delete cities will only be made for the upcoming calendar year; no adjustments will be made retroactively.