WSR 10-20-060



(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed September 27, 2010, 3:34 p.m. , effective October 1, 2010 ]

     Effective Date of Rule: October 1, 2010.

     Purpose: The department is amending WAC 388-432-0005 Can I get help from DSHS for a family emergency without receiving cash assistance?, 388-310-0100 WorkFirst -- Purpose, 388-310-0800 WorkFirst -- Support services, 388-310-1800 WorkFirst -- Post employment services, 388-310-1600 WorkFirst -- Sanctions, 388-310-0200 WorkFirst -- Activities, 388-310-0400 WorkFirst -- Entering the WorkFirst program as a mandatory participant, 388-310-1300 Community jobs, and 388-310-2100 Career services program.

     These amendments will:

Decrease the diversion cash assistance expenditures by reducing maximum allotment from $1500 to $1250;
Reduce child care cost by allowing qualifying two-parent families to have the option of excluding one parent from WorkFirst participation requirements;
No longer provide career services, tuition assistance and support services payments to former TANF families; and
Eliminate administrative costs associated with the external three-person sanction review panel.

     These changes in addition to other administrative reductions are necessary to contain costs and ensure program's fiscal stability. These adjustments are necessary for the program to stay within the budget and to prevent more severe cuts.

     Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 388-310-2100; and amending WAC 388-310-0100, 388-310-0800, 388-310-1800, 388-310-1600, 388-310-0200, 388-310-0400, 388-310-1300, and 388-432-0005.

     Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.08.090, chapters 74.08A and 74.12 RCW.

     Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest; and that in order to implement the requirements or reductions in appropriations enacted in any budget for fiscal years 2009, 2010, or 2011, which necessitates the need for the immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the fiscal needs or requirements of the agency.

     Reasons for this Finding: The department needs to make immediate cuts to TANF-related programs in order to stay within the current budget. Based on the current rate of expenditures (SP to Budget Bill 9-27-10), the TANF/WorkFirst biennial budget faces a shortfall of no less than ninety-three million dollars for the remainder of the 09-11 biennium. In part, this shortfall is the result of increased demand for TANF benefits due to the economic recession. In the last two years, the WorkFirst caseload has grown by more than thirty percent, from 51,106 cases in July 2008 to 66,634 cases in June of this year.

     In addition, revenue forecasts for Washington state government show decreased general fund revenue for the two-year period ending June 30, 2011. The governor has determined that a budget shortfall is imminent and has directed agencies to implement cuts by October 1 to avoid running out of state general funds. In particular, the governor's Executive Order 10-04 (Ordering Expenditure Reductions in Allotments of State General Fund Appropriations), signed on September 13, 2010, found that:

Revenues have fallen short of projections;
The current official state economic and revenue forecast of general fund revenues is less than the official estimate upon which the state's 2009-2011 biennial operating budget and supplemental operating budget were enacted; and
The anticipated revenues combined with the beginning cash balance of the general fund are insufficient to meet anticipated expenditures from this fund for the remainder of the current fiscal period.

     Accordingly, the governor has ordered across-the-board reductions of state general fund allotments by 6.287%, effective October 1, 2010. The revenue shortfall will add an additional nineteen million dollars for a possible total shortfall of one hundred twelve million dollars.

     In addition to this budget shortfall, the department does not expect to receive sixty-two million dollars in federal ARRA contingency funds. This is likely to have a significant increase to the shortfall that is specific to the TANF/WorkFirst budget for fiscal year 2011.

     The timing of the proposed budget reductions will lessen the adverse impact on families. If immediate budget reductions are not realized, the department will have to make additional cuts in the future to TANF/WorkFirst assistance programs to stay within budget. Additional cuts could include greater reduction in services than those currently proposed, and/or eliminating benefits rather than reducing them. These reductions would have a much greater detrimental effect on vulnerable families with children in need.

     The department is concurrently working on the permanent rule-making process and has filed preproposal statement of inquiries, CR-101, as WSR 10-16-144, 10-16-145, 10-16-147, 10-17-115, and 10-17-116. The department started filing proposed rule-making notices on [in] September and plans to complete all notices by the first week of October.

     Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

     Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 8, Repealed 1.

     Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

     Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

     Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0;      Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 8, Repealed 1.

     Date Adopted: September 27, 2010.

Katherine I. Vasquez

Rules Coordinator

     Reviser's note: The material contained in this filing exceeded the page-count limitations of WAC 1-21-040 for appearance in this issue of the Register. It will appear in the 10-21 issue of the Register.

© Washington State Code Reviser's Office