Department of Commerce

  Average Annual FTEs Near General Fund State Other Funds Total Funds
  (Dollars in Thousands)
Current Budget 326.6 185,970 482,338 668,308
2019-21 Maintenance Level 327.8 187,294 482,309 669,603
Difference from 2017-19 1.2 1,324 (29) 1,295
% Change from 2017-19 0.37% 0.71% (0.0%) 0.19%

2019-21 Policy Other Changes

Housing & Essential Needs 0.0 0 26,100 26,100
Associate Development Organizations 0.0 5,000 (5,000) 0
Homeless Youth Housing Stability 0.0 0 1,007 1,007
Maintaining HMIS 0.0 0 700 700
Military Defense Compatibility 1.0 84 0 84
Buildable Lands Shortfall 0.0 1,300 0 1,300
CARE Fund 0.0 0 5,432 5,432
Academic Internship Program 0.0 150 0 150
Greenhouse Emission Limits 0.10 0 70 70
Group Violence Intervention Grant 0.0 600 0 600
Long Term Care Ombudsman 0.0 300 0 300
Multifamily Tax Exemption 0.30 83 0 83
2050 Energy Vision 0.0 600 0 600
Supportive Housing 0.50 0 15,444 15,444
Affordable Housing Benchmarks 0.50 0 184 184
CERB Project Development 0.50 0 173 173
Energy Resilience 0.50 118 0 118
Contingent Worker Safety Net Study 0.0 80 0 80
Unmet Need Sheltering 0.0 0 66,395 66,395
2019-21 Policy Other Changes Total 3.4 8,315 110,505 118,820

2019-21 Policy Comp Changes

PERS & TRS Plan 1 Benefit Increase 0.0 5 5 10
2019-21 Policy Comp Changes Total 0.0 5 5 10

2019-21 Policy Central Services Changes

Attorney General 0.0 4 7 11
DES Central Services 0.0 2 1 3
OFM Central Services 0.0 27 43 70
2019-21 Policy Central Services Changes Total 0.0 33 51 84
Total Policy Changes 3.4 8,353 110,561 118,914
2019-21 Policy Level 331.2 195,647 592,870 788,517
Difference from 2017-19 4.6 9,677 110,532 120,209
% Change from 2017-19 1.4% 5.2% 22.9% 18.0%

Policy Changes

DES Central Services

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency’s anticipated share of charges from the Department of Enterprise Services (DES) for campus rent, utilities, parking, and contracts; capital project surcharges; financing cost recovery; public and historic facilities; real estate services; risk management services; personnel service rates; the Perry Street child care center; small agency services; and the department’s enterprise applications. (General Fund - Federal, General Fund - State)

OFM Central Services

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency’s anticipated share of charges from the Office of Financial Management (OFM) for statewide financial applications, One Washington, and other OFM central services. (General Fund - Federal, General Fund - Local, General Fund - State, other funds)

Housing & Essential Needs

The Housing and Essential Needs (HEN) program provides rent assistance to individuals who are unable to work due to a physical or mental incapacity. Approximately 50 percent of participants are homeless when they enter the program. There are currently more people eligible for HEN than there are resources to provide assistance, and there are approximately 10,000 people living without shelter in the state. To address this crisis, additional funding is provided for the HEN program to assist 2,900 individuals in meeting their foundational needs, which includes securing a safe and healthy home. Funding will be tightly targeted to unsheltered individuals and people currently residing in homeless shelters. (General Fund - State, Home Security Fund Account - State)

Associate Development Organizations

Associate Development Organizations (ADOs) are conduits for carrying out community outreach and local small business support, especially in rural counties. The Economic Development Strategic Reserve Fund, through which the program is currently funded, does not have sufficient resources to support this program. General Fund-State dollars are restored to the ADO program. (Econ Dev Strategic Reserve Account - State, General Fund - State)

Homeless Youth Housing Stability

There are few housing options for minors who are experiencing family crisis and cannot return home. Lengths of stay in existing shelter programs are limited to 15 to 30 days, depending on the program. While family reconciliation remains a priority for these programs, data shows in many instances family reconciliation is either unsuccessful or takes longer than current length of stay limits allow. As many as 30 percent of youth who exited these temporary shelters in 2019 did not have a permanent place to stay after 30 days and ended up in a shelter, in a temporary housing situation, or on the streets. The Department of Commerce is provided funding to support a pilot program creating 15 transitional housing beds with no time limit for non-state dependent youth ages 16 and 17, providing longer-term housing and support to youth who cannot safely return home. (Budget Stabilization Account - State, General Fund - State, Home Security Fund Account - State)

Maintaining HMIS

The Homeless Management Information System (HMIS) houses mission-critical information used for continuous case management of homeless persons in Washington state. Funding for this program was removed in the enacted 2019-21 biennial budget, impacting the department's ability to update and maintain critical information related to homeless persons. This reduction eliminated partial funding of four positions that maintain HMIS. In order to fill this gap in funding, the amount used for direct services to homeless individuals was reduced, equating to 41 households experiencing homelessness that will not receive services. Base funding for HMIS is restored so the department can continue to provide this critical information without reducing services to homeless persons. (Budget Stabilization Account - State, General Fund - State, Home Security Fund Account - State)

Military Defense Compatibility

Chapter 404, Laws of 2019 (Substitute Senate Bill 5748) created the Defense Community Compatibility Account and directed the Department of Commerce to create a biennial report identifying a list of projects to address incompatible developments near military installations. Funding is provided to develop the report. (General Fund - State)

Buildable Lands Shortfall

Funding is provided for the Department of Commerce to help seven counties fully implement and maintain their buildable lands programs and to implement amendments to the program that were enacted in the 2017 legislative session. (General Fund - Federal, General Fund - State)


Funds from the Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment Fund Match Transfer Account are provided for the Department of Commerce to contract with the nonprofit Andy Hill Cancer Research Endowment and the entity acting as its fund administrator. (Andy Hill Cncr Rsrch End Mtch Trans - State)

Academic Internship Program

The Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars administers an academic internship program in Washington, D.C. where college students are placed in internships that fit their skills, interests, and professional goals. Pass-through funding is provided for the Washington Center Academic Internship Program. This funding will provide scholarships for Washington state public university students to help make the cost of living and working in Washington, D.C. comparable to a resident student's average cost for a term at their home institution. (General Fund - State)

Greenhouse Emission Limits

Funding is provided to the Department of Commerce to coordinate with the Department of Ecology to report on greenhouse gas emissions, including emissions from wildfires, and to participate in an interagency work group on greenhouse gas emissions reduction. (General Fund - State, Model Toxics Control Operating Acct - State)

Group Violence Intervention Grant

Funding is provided for a grant program to develop violence intervention strategies. Priority will be given to sites in Yakima and south King counties - areas with the highest rates of gun violence in the state - that can demonstrate the successful leveraging of local or federal resources. The grants require collaboration between law enforcement and the community using data to identify the individuals most at risk to perpetrate gun violence as well as connections to services. (General Fund - State)

Long Term Care Ombudsman

Funding is provided to continue a 2017-19 investment for the long term care ombudsman program that lapsed at the beginning of the 2019-21 biennium. This investment will meet the immediate needs of individuals by advocating on their behalf and protecting residents of long-term care facilities from abuse, neglect and exploitation. (General Fund - State)

Multifamily Tax Exemption

Funding is provided to implement proposed legislation amending the multi-family tax exemption. A provision in the bill requires local governing authorities to notify the Department of Commerce of their intention to offer a tax exemption under RCW 84.14 with a projected fiscal impact and sunset date. This funding will enable the department to collect this data and ensure its quality for future reporting. (General Fund - State)

2050 Energy Vision

Funding is provided to the Department of Commerce to develop a comprehensive analysis of statewide emission reduction strategies. This technical analysis will identify specific strategies that are likely to be most effective in achieving necessary emission reductions for key energy uses and customer segments. It will be performed by one or more expert consultants with administrative and policy support provided by the department. (General Fund - State)

Supportive Housing

There are approximately 10,000 households living without shelter on a given night in Washington. Thirty percent of those living outside are chronically homeless, meaning they have experienced homelessness for at least a year, or repeatedly, while struggling with a disabling condition. Funding provided will ensure that 1,200 of the highest need, chronically homeless persons with a history of living outside will receive permanent supportive housing assistance (a combination of rent assistance with support services and health care) required to obtain and maintain stable housing. (Budget Stabilization Account - State, General Fund - State, Home Security Fund Account - State)

Affordable Housing Benchmarks

Washington state does not regularly publish data on measures of housing affordability and the housing market, and measures that are published are not consistent or comparable from year to year to see trends. In addition, there are no affordable housing performance goals for counties and the state beyond the high-level and imprecisely defined goal that everyone have safe and affordable housing. The Department of Commerce is provided funding for one FTE staff to publish an affordable housing report card to spur adoption of best practices and address areas of low performance. (Budget Stabilization Account - State, General Fund - State, Home Security Fund Account - State)

CERB Project Development

The Community Economic Revitalization Board (CERB) within the Department of Commerce is provided additional staff support to keep up with current program demands for technical assistance and project development related to community economic development projects statewide. (Public Facility Const Loan Revolv - State)

Energy Resilience

In the event of an energy emergency, the governor relies on contingency plans developed by the Department of Commerce that include procedures for determining when these emergencies exist. The Energy Emergency Management Program within the department is responsible for addressing energy emergencies and leading the response to an incident or disaster impacting the energy sector and coordinating with all levels of government, energy sector partners, neighboring states, the U.S. Department of Energy, and senior government officials. A recent one-time federal grant provided the department with an emergency management position that identified critical gaps in our preparedness and an initial plan for increasing the state's preparedness for an energy emergency. To continue this work and develop proposed legislation for the components of plans that require legislative authorization, ongoing funding is provided for an Emergency Management Program Specialist position. (General Fund - State)

Contingent Worker Safety Net Study

Funding is provided for the department to facilitate research on non-traditional workers across the regulatory continuum, including convening cross-agency partners. The purpose of the research is to recommend policies and practices regarding the state's worker and small business programs to address changes in the labor market. This funding continues work initiated by the independent contractor employment study funded in Chapter 299, Laws of 2018. The department must submit a report with recommendations to the governor by November 1, 2020. (General Fund - State, Workforce Education Investment Acc - State)

Unmet Need Sheltering

There are approximately 10,000 people living outside or in a place unfit for human habitation on a given night in Washington. Current statewide homeless shelter capacity is insufficient to address the crisis of unsheltered homelessness. Funding is provided to create an additional 2,100 shelter beds statewide. Eligible uses of shelter capacity expansion funding include costs associated with building and operating new shelter beds or sanctioned camping capacity, and outreach directly necessary to identify and move people into new shelters, sanctioned camping, or currently underutilized shelter capacity. The department will set a per-bed cost limit adequate to reasonably fund the ongoing operations, services, outreach, and administration necessary to safely and effectively provide shelter or sanctioned camping beds. Funding provided will require a local match and development of local sheltering plans. (Budget Stabilization Account - State, Home Security Fund Account - State, Workforce Education Investment Acc - State)

PERS & TRS Plan 1 Benefit Increase

For eligible Public Employees' and Teachers' Retirement Systems Plan 1 members, this item provides an increase of 1.5 percent, up to a maximum of $22 per month. (General Fund - Federal, General Fund - State, Public Works Assistance Account - State, other funds)

Attorney General

Adjustments are made to reflect each agency's anticipated share of legal service charges from the Attorney General’s Office. (General Fund - Federal, General Fund - State, Public Works Assistance Account - State, other funds)