April 5, 2002

To the Honorable President and Members,
The House of Representatives of the State of Washington

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I am returning herewith, without my approval, House Bill No. 2846 entitled:

"AN ACT Relating to requiring specific funding to implement the buildable lands review and evaluation program;"

House Bill No. 2846 would have required counties to adopt planning policies to establish a review and evaluation program in accordance with RCW 36.70A.215 only if (1) specific funding were provided in the minimum amount of $2.5 million, and (2) the funds were distributed by July 31 of the first year of the biennium.

This review and evaluation program is commonly known as the "buildable lands" program. Under this program, counties and cities are to determine whether they are achieving urban densities within urban growth areas (UGA's), and identify reasonable measures to adjust UGA boundaries. This program is important to ensure that the density goals of the Growth Management Act are being met.

I am sympathetic to the concerns of local government that they need financial assistance to accomplish the many planning requirements placed upon them. However, it is inappropriate to have a specific minimum dollar figure set in statute. Similar statutory provisions call for "sufficient funding." Setting a specific dollar figure will unduly bind the state in the future. Determination of the appropriate amount to provide to local governments for this purpose should be dealt with in the same manner as any other appropriations item.

For these reasons, I have vetoed House Bill No. 2846 in its entirety.

Respectfully submitted,

Gary Locke