HOUSE BILL 2282
State of Washington 57th Legislature 2002 Regular Session
By Representatives G. Chandler, Linville, Clements, Conway and Kenney; by request of Governor Locke
Read first time 07/25/2001. Referred to Committee on Agriculture & Ecology.
AN ACT Relating to relief for farmers, farmworkers, and communities affected by crop damage due to severe storms occurring on June 26 and 27, 2001; amending RCW 82.29A.130; adding a new section to chapter 50.22 RCW; adding a new section to chapter 84.36 RCW; creating a new section; making appropriations; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. The legislature declares an emergency caused by a natural disaster, which was the severe storm that damaged agricultural crops on June 26 and 27, 2001, in thirteen counties as designated by the governor and the secretary of the United States department of agriculture.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 2. A new section is added to chapter 50.22 RCW to read as follows:
(1) An additional benefit period is established for an individual who is engaged in agricultural employment in standard industrial classification code 011, 016, 017, or 203, but who is unemployed as a direct result of an emergency declared by the governor. These additional benefits are intended to provide partial income replacement in order that an individual unemployed as a result of the emergency can provide for the necessities of living.
(a) The additional benefits provided under this section are payable to an eligible unemployed worker for a maximum of eight weeks of unemployment during the period July 1, 2001, through July 6, 2002.
(b) The additional benefits provided by this section are available to any individual who is unemployed as a result of the emergency and:
(i) At the time of the emergency, resided in the area that is included in the governor's emergency declaration. Agricultural workers whose normal work depends on movement from one area to another will be deemed residing in the emergency area if their presence in that area is consistent with the normal or reasonable migration required by their occupation; and
(ii) Is able to, available for, and actively seeking work as provided in RCW 50.20.010(3).
(c) A worker is considered unemployed as a result of the emergency if he or she:
(i) Is unemployed due to crop damage at the farm at which he or she is employed;
(ii) Is unable to reach the place of employment or self-employment; or
(iii) Had a bona fide offer of work prior to the emergency, but could not work or is unable to reach the job due to the emergency.
(d) The additional benefits provided under this section are available to an individual who is not eligible for regular unemployment compensation under this title, or who is an exhaustee as defined in RCW 50.22.010.
(2) For purposes of this section, and subject to the restrictions in subsection (3) of this section, the term "agricultural employment" includes:
(a) Services performed on a farm, in the employ of any person, in connection with the cultivation of the soil, or in connection with raising or harvesting any agricultural commodity; or
(b) Services performed packing, packaging, grading, storing, or delivering to storage, or to market, or to a carrier for transportation to market, any agricultural commodity.
(3) An individual is not eligible for additional benefits under this section if he or she is:
(a) Enrolled as a student and regularly attending classes, or between two successive years or terms, at an elementary school, a secondary school, or an institution of higher education as defined in RCW 50.44.037;
(b) Performing services in family employment as defined in RCW 50.04.180;
(c) A school employee subject to the between and within denial terms as provided in RCW 50.44.050; and
(d) An alien who is not authorized by the immigration and naturalization service to work in the United States.
(4) The total additional benefit amount shall be:
(a) For an exhaustee, eight times the weekly benefit amount which was payable to the individual under this title for a week of total unemployment in the applicable benefit year; or
(b) For individuals not eligible for regular benefits under this title, eight times the weekly benefit amount established under subsection (5) of this section.
(5)(a) The weekly additional benefit amount shall be:
(i) For an exhaustee, the weekly benefit amount which was payable to the individual under this title for a week of total unemployment in the applicable benefit year; or
(ii) For an unemployed person not eligible for regular benefits under this title, the weekly amount the individual would be entitled to had all the individual's work and earnings, both covered and noncovered, been included as employment and wages under state law. "Wages" for these purposes means gross wages paid to a worker.
(b) Notwithstanding the provisions of (a) of this subsection:
(i) The minimum amount payable to any individual eligible under this section shall be one hundred six dollars per week, the minimum weekly benefit amount payable for the benefit year in effect on July 1, 2001, as provided in RCW 50.20.120(2);
(ii) The maximum amount payable to any individual eligible under this section shall be four hundred ninety-six dollars per week, the maximum weekly benefit amount payable for the benefit year in effect on July 1, 2001, as provided in RCW 50.20.120(2); and
(iii) An individual who leaves the state of Washington shall not be eligible to receive additional benefits for more than two weeks following the week in which he or she left the state.
(6) An application for additional benefits shall be filed with the department within thirty days after the announcement of the emergency which resulted in the individual's unemployment. An application filed later than thirty days after the announcement date of the emergency shall be accepted if the individual had good cause for the late filing. In no event shall an application be accepted if it is filed after July 6, 2002.
(7) Weekly claims for additional benefits shall be filed in the manner prescribed by the department. Additional benefits will be paid only for those weeks for which the individual would have been employed except for the fact that the emergency occurred, or for which the individual would have been eligible for regular benefits but, because of the emergency, had exhausted those benefits.
(8) Additional benefits paid under this section shall not be charged to the experience rating account of any contribution-paying employer.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. A new section is added to chapter 84.36 RCW to read as follows:
(1) All real property, including perennial vines and orchard trees, owned or leased by a farmer, as defined in RCW 82.04.213, and exclusively used for the growing of an agricultural product, as defined in RCW 82.04.213, excluding products of animal husbandry, which agricultural product was damaged in severe storms that occurred on June 26 and 27, 2001, is exempt from all regular and excess property taxes, if the farmer meets the requirements set out in this section. The property must be located in a county designated as an agricultural disaster area as a result of the severe storms that occurred on June 26 and 27, 2001, by the United States department of agriculture. This exemption applies to all regular and excess property taxes levied for collection in 2001, to the extent unpaid as of the effective date of this act, to all regular and excess property taxes levied for collection in 2002, and to all regular and excess property taxes levied for collection in 2003, that are due and payable on or before April 30, 2003, and delinquent after that date. If the real property is leased and the lessee farmer is required under the lease agreement to pay property taxes, the benefit of this exemption shall inure to the lessee, to the extent the lessee is liable for property taxes.
(2) In order to be eligible for this property tax exemption, the farmer must first apply for and qualify for an emergency loan from the farm service agency of the United States department of agriculture.
(3) A claim for exemption under this section must be filed with the treasurer of the county in which the property is located on or before the dates provided in RCW 84.56.020 for payment of property taxes in order for the exemption to take effect for payment due on any payment date for which this exemption may apply. Only one claim needs to be filed and it must be filed solely on forms as prescribed or approved by the department of revenue. If at the time the claim is filed, a farmer has not yet received confirmation from the farm service agency that the farmer qualifies for an emergency loan, payment of any tax for which exemption is claimed under this section is deferred until such time as the confirmation is provided. Confirmation must be provided within one year from the effective date of this act. If confirmation is not subsequently provided to the treasurer, the farmer must pay all property taxes deferred with interest from the date the tax would have been due without the deferral, but no penalty may be assessed, notwithstanding the provisions of RCW 84.56.020. No claim may be filed more than thirty days after the expiration of the time allowed to apply for an emergency loan from the farm service agency.
(4) Any taxing district, other than the state, for which tax revenues are decreased as a result of the exemptions provided in this act, is entitled to an appropriation by the state for the difference between what the taxing district would have received from taxes in the absence of these exemptions and what it actually received from taxes as a result of the exemptions provided in this act.
Sec. 4. RCW 82.29A.130 and 1999 c 165 s 21 are each amended to read as follows:
The following leasehold interests shall be exempt from taxes imposed pursuant to RCW 82.29A.030 and 82.29A.040:
(1) All leasehold interests constituting a part of the operating properties of any public utility which is assessed and taxed as a public utility pursuant to chapter 84.12 RCW.
(2) All leasehold interests in facilities owned or used by a school, college or university which leasehold provides housing for students and which is otherwise exempt from taxation under provisions of RCW 84.36.010 and 84.36.050.
(3) All leasehold interests of subsidized housing where the fee ownership of such property is vested in the government of the United States, or the state of Washington or any political subdivision thereof but only if income qualification exists for such housing.
(4) All leasehold interests used for fair purposes of a nonprofit fair association that sponsors or conducts a fair or fairs which receive support from revenues collected pursuant to RCW 67.16.100 and allocated by the director of the department of agriculture where the fee ownership of such property is vested in the government of the United States, the state of Washington or any of its political subdivisions: PROVIDED, That this exemption shall not apply to the leasehold interest of any sublessee of such nonprofit fair association if such leasehold interest would be taxable if it were the primary lease.
(5) All leasehold interests in any property of any public entity used as a residence by an employee of that public entity who is required as a condition of employment to live in the publicly owned property.
(6) All leasehold interests held by enrolled Indians of lands owned or held by any Indian or Indian tribe where the fee ownership of such property is vested in or held in trust by the United States and which are not subleased to other than to a lessee which would qualify pursuant to this chapter, RCW 84.36.451 and 84.40.175.
(7) All leasehold interests in any real property of any Indian or Indian tribe, band, or community that is held in trust by the United States or is subject to a restriction against alienation imposed by the United States: PROVIDED, That this exemption shall apply only where it is determined that contract rent paid is greater than or equal to ninety percent of fair market rental, to be determined by the department of revenue using the same criteria used to establish taxable rent in RCW 82.29A.020(2)(b).
(8) All leasehold interests for which annual taxable rent is less than two hundred fifty dollars per year. For purposes of this subsection leasehold interests held by the same lessee in contiguous properties owned by the same lessor shall be deemed a single leasehold interest.
(9) All leasehold interests which give use or possession of the leased property for a continuous period of less than thirty days: PROVIDED, That for purposes of this subsection, successive leases or lease renewals giving substantially continuous use of possession of the same property to the same lessee shall be deemed a single leasehold interest: PROVIDED FURTHER, That no leasehold interest shall be deemed to give use or possession for a period of less than thirty days solely by virtue of the reservation by the public lessor of the right to use the property or to allow third parties to use the property on an occasional, temporary basis.
(10) All leasehold interests under month-to-month leases in residential units rented for residential purposes of the lessee pending destruction or removal for the purpose of constructing a public highway or building.
(11) All leasehold interests in any publicly owned real or personal property to the extent such leasehold interests arises solely by virtue of a contract for public improvements or work executed under the public works statutes of this state or of the United States between the public owner of the property and a contractor.
(12) All leasehold interests that give use or possession of state adult correctional facilities for the purposes of operating correctional industries under RCW 72.09.100.
(13) All leasehold interests used to provide organized and supervised recreational activities for disabled persons of all ages in a camp facility and for public recreational purposes by a nonprofit organization, association, or corporation that would be exempt from property tax under RCW 84.36.030(1) if it owned the property. If the publicly owned property is used for any taxable purpose, the leasehold excise taxes set forth in RCW 82.29A.030 and 82.29A.040 shall be imposed and shall be apportioned accordingly.
(14) All leasehold interests in the public or entertainment areas of a baseball stadium with natural turf and a retractable roof or canopy that is in a county with a population of over one million, that has a seating capacity of over forty thousand, and that is constructed on or after January 1, 1995. "Public or entertainment areas" include ticket sales areas, ramps and stairs, lobbies and concourses, parking areas, concession areas, restaurants, hospitality and stadium club areas, kitchens or other work areas primarily servicing other public or entertainment areas, public rest room areas, press and media areas, control booths, broadcast and production areas, retail sales areas, museum and exhibit areas, scoreboards or other public displays, storage areas, loading, staging, and servicing areas, seating areas and suites, the playing field, and any other areas to which the public has access or which are used for the production of the entertainment event or other public usage, and any other personal property used for these purposes. "Public or entertainment areas" does not include locker rooms or private offices exclusively used by the lessee.
(15) All leasehold interests in the public or entertainment areas of a stadium and exhibition center, as defined in RCW 36.102.010, that is constructed on or after January 1, 1998. For the purposes of this subsection, "public or entertainment areas" has the same meaning as in subsection (14) of this section, and includes exhibition areas.
(16) All leasehold interests in public facilities districts, as provided in chapter 36.100 or 35.57 RCW.
(17) All leasehold interests of real property, including perennial vines and orchard trees, held by a farmer, as defined in RCW 82.04.213, and exclusively used for the growing of an agricultural product, as defined in RCW 82.04.213, excluding products of animal husbandry, which agricultural product was damaged in severe storms that occurred on June 26 and 27, 2001, and for which the farmer would receive the property tax exemption provided in section 1 of this act if the real property were privately owned, are exempt from all leasehold excise taxes due from the effective date of this act until July 1, 2003. To receive the leasehold excise tax exemption, the property must be located in a county designated as an agricultural disaster area as a result of the severe storms that occurred on June 26 and 27, 2001, by the United States department of agriculture. Claims for this exemption will be administered in the manner described in section 1 of this act. A lessee farmer who qualifies for an emergency loan from the farm service agency of the United States department of agriculture shall notify the treasurer of the county in which the property is located. The county treasurer shall, in turn, notify the public lessor of all lessee farmers who qualify for leasehold excise tax exemption under this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 5. (1) The sum of one million five hundred thousand dollars is appropriated from the emergency reserve fund to the office of community development for fiscal year 2002 solely for the purposes of providing assistance to farm workers who have been displaced by the June 26 and 27, 2001, storm in thirteen counties designated by the governor and the secretary of the United States department of agriculture. The department of community, trade, and economic development shall distribute the amount in this section to community agencies that assist displaced farm workers through the existing program structures in meeting basic needs including, but not limited to, emergency medical and dental services, food, mortgage and rental costs, emergency shelter costs, and emergency transportation costs.
(2) The sum of three million dollars, or as much thereof as may be necessary, is appropriated from the emergency reserve fund to the department of revenue for fiscal years 2002 and 2003 solely for the purposes of section 3(4) of this act.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 6. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and takes effect immediately.
--- END ---