Washington (41/50)(1 is most free, 50 is least free)
To learn what the below scores mean and how they were calculated, read our ranking methodology.
Individual Liberty (28/50)
This category compiles scores on 17 different data points to determine how well Washington respects and protects the liberty of its citizens.
|Code Accessiblity||1||10%||This city uses an online, easily navigable and searchable database for its city laws.||Sterling Codifiers database|
|Dog Licensing||48||10%||Depending on whether the dog is fixed or not and the length of the license you purchase, licensing fees for each dog ranges from $12. to $40.||Link|
|Free Speech||1||15%||This city does not require a permit to stage a protest on public property.||Per city staff|
|Daytime Curfew||1||10%||This city does not impose a daytime curfew on minors.|
|Vice Regulation||9||10%||This city exceeds the regulations of state law on public consumption of alcohol by prohibiting beer in a list of public places. However, there are no regulations on smoking in outdoor areas.||6-5-1(A)|
|Campaign Contribution Limits||1||10%||This city does not regulate free speech by imposing a limit on campaign contributions for city elections|
|Loitering||28||10%||The loitering laws in this city prohibit loitering in parks between 10:00pm and 6:00am and loitering for the purpose of getting something from a passerby (considered a nuisance).||5-2A-2(a), 5-3-3B(33)(m)|
|Violation of Ordinances||11||10%||While some ordinances may impose a specific penalty, in Washington the default penalty for a violation of any city ordinance, if not specified, is a class B misdemeanor which carries a fine of up to $1,000.|
|Gun Regulation||47||15%||Under authority granted from state law, Washington has chosen to regulate the discharge of firearms in city limits with no exceptions for self-defense or other lawful uses made explicit in code. The city's law also has additional provisions regulating firearms that may be inconsistent with state and federal law. This includes: |
• Carrying a loaded firearm while operating an off highway vehicle is prohibited.
Private Property (45/50)
63 different data points are included in this category to discern the degree to which Washington respects and protects private property rights.
|Conditional Use Permit Fees||36||10%||The cost of a conditional use permit is $300 (plus $50 per additional acre).||Permit application|
|Home Building Fees||48||10%||The total cost of permit fees for building a typical single family home is $14,510. This includes $1,338 in permit fees, $13,172 in impact fees, no site plan approval fees, and no plan check fees.||Per city staff|
|Animal Restrictions||18||15%||Chickens are permitted in at least one residential zone. Beehives are permitted in residential zones without a permit. Assuming a lot size of 0.15 acres, this city only allows you to have 2 dogs, allows 0 chickens, and does not limit the number of beehives.||9-1-6, 9-8-B2|
|Short-term Rentals||17||15%||This city prohibits property owners from renting their residential property on a short-term basis as is often done through services like Airbnb and VRBO.||9-8B-2(D)|
|Taxes & Cost of Government||33||30%||The cost of government in Washington as a share of the total taxable economic base is $95 per $10,000. As a share of total personal income, the cost is $484 per $10,000. On a per capita basis, the cost is $674. The city gets 21% of its tax revenue from property taxes, 28% of its tax revenue from sales tax, and 52% from other sources including fees and fines.||City Financial Statements|
|Bonded Debt||44||15%||The city is currently utilizing 4.09% of thier debt limit for general obligation bonds; however, if calculated for all bonds (including revenue bonds), the utilization would be 18.55%.||City Financial Statements|
|Lobbying||1||5%||This city does not employ lobbyists to represent the city.||City expense data|
This city also has restrictive land use ordinances that violate property rights.
Free Enterprise (29/50)
The final category includes 35 different data points in an effort to review Washington's protection—or violation—of the free market.
|City-owned Enterprises||46||15%||This city owns 7 enterprises that could instead be offered by the private market: an electric power company; a garbage collection service; a recycling service; a golf course; a reception/event center; a fitness center; a water park;||City Financial Statements|
|Beer Sale Restrictions||10||10%||This city regulates the retail sale of beer by prohibiting sales from 1 am to 5 am .||3-2-12|
|Alcohol Licensing||45||10%||The city requires $500 for a retail beer license, $500 for a restaurant license, and $500 for a tavern license.||City Fee Schedule|
|Sales Tax||9||20%||This city imposes a combined sales tax rate of 6.35% on its citizens. Additionally, residents are required to pay a RAP tax at the rate of 0.1%. The city also has a municipal energy tax rate of 6.0%, a transient room tax at 4.25%, and a leasing tax at 7.5%.||State Tax Commission|
|Business Licensing||10||35%||This city charges the following licensing fees: $50 for a home occupation license; $80 for a small commercial license; $350 for a large commercial license; $50 for a temporary firework stand; $50 for a temporary christmas tree lot; and $195 for two solicitor licenses.||City Fee Schedule|
|Commerce Regulations||20||10%||Washington prohibits excavations on Sunday, and pawn brokers must close from 7pm to 7am each day.||3-9-6|