WSR 15-07-102
[Filed March 18, 2015, 9:32 a.m., effective March 18, 2015, 9:32 a.m.]
Effective Date of Rule: Immediately upon filing.
Purpose: A review of Washington state department of agriculture's grain inspection program fund 128 shows the balance is growing faster than anticipated and is larger than is necessary to ensure the program has sufficient funds to operate effectively due to higher than expected export tonnage volumes. WAC 16-240-043 Minimum operating fund discount does not allow for a review of the fund balance and a credit to customers for any excess in the fund until January 1, 2016. Given this circumstance and to provide an equitable remedy for those customers whose fees contributed to the excess fund balance, the department is refunding the excess operating amount immediately as soon as practical proportionately to customers who paid into the fund from the enactment of the last fee schedule on November 17, 2012, through December 31, 2014. The excess balance amount is determined as of January 31, 2015, the date for which the department has the most complete current figures. The department will review the fund balance again within the one hundred twenty days covered by this emergency rule.
All other requirements and provisions within chapter 16-240 WAC will remain in effect. The department is pursuing permanent rule making for a long-range solution to address maintaining an adequate fund balance while not gaining an unnecessarily high balance that can occur because of variable workload volumes.
Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 22.09.020, 22.09.070, chapter 34.05 RCW.
Other Authority: The United States Department of Agriculture, Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration, Federal Grain Inspection Service (USDA GIPSA FGIS) must approve changes in the Washington state department of agriculture, grain inspection program's fee schedule. 7 C.F.R. § 800.70; Directive 9100.7, Fees for Official Agency Services.
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.
Reasons for this Finding: Rule changes that affected fees in November 2012 have had some unintended consequences due to variable workload volumes, causing the program fund to grow beyond the desired level necessary to operate the program effectively. The fee discount rule, WAC 16-240-043, is not available to begin reducing the excess balance until 2016.
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 0, Repealed 0.
Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 1, 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 0, Repealed 0.
Date Adopted: March 18, 2015.
Kirk Robinson
Acting Deputy Director
WAC 16-240-056 Minimum operating fund balance refund.
(1) After July 1, 2014, the grain inspection program minimum operating fund has grown to exceed the balance necessary to cover the intended six months of program operating expenses. Because the significant excess balance has occurred after July 1, 2014, the discount adjustment under WAC 16-240-043 is not available until January 1, 2016 at the earliest. In order to promptly reduce the minimum operating fund balance to the required level, a refund is provided under this section to qualified customers.
(2) "Qualified customer" as used in this section refers to any applicant who has received and paid fees for grain inspection services from November 17, 2012 to December 31, 2014.
(3) Every qualified customer will be entitled to a one-time fee refund. Each refund is determined by calculating the total fees the program received from November 17, 2012 to December 31, 2014, each qualified customer's percent of that total, and the product derived by multiplying the excess minimum operating fund balance as of January 31, 2015 by each qualified customer's percent of the total fees paid by all customers from November 17, 2012 to December 31, 2014. The refunds will be processed following the effective date of this rule in compliance with state laws for the issuance of warrants.