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Article VII, Iowa Constitution

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Iowa Constitution
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Article VII of the Iowa Constitution is labeled State Debts. It has nine sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Credit Not to Be Loaned

The credit of the state shall not, in any manner, be given or loaned to, or in aid of, any individual, association, or corporation; and the state shall never assume, or become responsible for, the debts or liabilities of any individual, association, or corporation, unless incurred in time of war for the benefit of the state.[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:


The state may contract debts to supply casual deficits or failures in revenues, or to meet expenses not otherwise provided for; but the aggregate amount of such debts, direct and contingent, whether contracted by virtue of one or more acts of the general assembly, or at different periods of time, shall never exceed the sum of two hundred and fifty thousand dollars; and the money arising from the creation of such debts, shall be applied to the purpose for which it was obtained, or to repay the debts so contracted, and to no other purpose whatever.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Losses to School Funds

All losses to the permanent, school, or university fund of this state, which shall have been occasioned by the defalcation, mismanagement or fraud of the agents or officers controlling and managing the same, shall be audited by the proper authorities of the state. The amount so audited shall be a permanent funded debt against the state, in favor of the respective fund, sustaining the loss, upon which not less than six per cent. annual interest shall be paid. The amount of liability so created shall not be counted as a part of the indebtedness authorized by the second section of this article.[1]

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

War Debts

In addition to the above limited power to contract debts, the state may contract debts to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the state in war; but the money arising from the debts so contracted shall be applied to the purpose for which it was raised, or to repay such debts, and to no other purpose whatever.[1]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Contracting Debt--Submission to the People

Except the debts herein before specified in this article, no debt shall be hereafter contracted by, or on behalf of this state, unless such debt shall be authorized by some law for some single work or object, to be distinctly specified therein; and such law shall impose and provide for the collection of a direct annual tax, sufficient to pay the interest on such debt, as it falls due, and also to pay and discharge the principal of such debt, within twenty years from the time of the contracting thereof; but no such law shall take effect until at a general election it shall have been submitted to the people, and have received a majority of all the votes cast for and against it at such election; and all money raised by authority of such law, shall be applied only to the specific object therein stated, or to the payment of the debt created thereby; and such law shall be published in at least one newspaper in each county, if one is published therein, throughout the state, for three months preceding the election at which it is submitted to the people.[1]

For statutory provisions, see §49A.1 to 49A.9 of the Code.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Legislature May Repeal

The legislature may, at any time, after the approval of such law by the people, if no debt shall have been contracted in pursuance thereof, repeal the same; and may, at any time, forbid the contracting of any further debt, or liability, under such law; but the tax imposed by such law, in proportion to the debt or liability, which may have been contracted in pursuance thereof, shall remain in force and be irrepealable, and be annually collected, until the principal and interest are fully paid.[1]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Tax Imposed Distinctly Stated

Every law which imposes, continues, or revives a tax, shall distinctly state the tax, and the object to which it is to be applied; and it shall not be sufficient to refer to any other law to fix such tax or object.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

Motor Vehicle Fees and Fuel Taxes

All motor vehicle registration fees and all licenses and excise taxes on motor vehicle fuel, except cost of administration, shall be used exclusively for the construction, maintenance and supervision of the public highways exclusively within the state or for the payment of bonds issued or to be issued for the construction of such public highways and the payment of interest on such bonds.[1]


  • Added in 1942 with the approval of Amendment.

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Fish and Wildlife Protection Funds

All revenue derived from state license fees for hunting, fishing, and trapping, and all state funds appropriated for, and federal or private funds received by the state for, the regulation or advancement of hunting , fishing, or trapping, or the protection, propagation, restoration, management, or harvest of fish or wildlife, shall be used exclusively for the performance and administration of activities related to those purposes.[1]


Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Natural Resources and Outdoor Recreation Trust Fund

A natural resources and outdoor recreation trust fund is created within the treasury for the purposes of protecting and enhancing water quality and natural areas in this State including parks, trails, and fish and wildlife habitat, and conserving agricultural soils in this State. Moneys in the fund shall be exclusively appropriated by law for these purposes.

The General Assembly shall provide by law for the implementation of this section, including by providing for the administration of the fund and at least annual audits of the fund.

Except as otherwise provided in this section, the fund shall be annually credited with an amount equal to the amount generated by a sales tax rate of three=eighths of one percent as may be imposed upon the retail sales price of tangible personal property and the furnishing of enumerated services sold in this State.

No revenue shall be credited to the fund until the tax rate for the sales tax imposed upon the retail sales price of tangible personal property and the furnishing of enumerated services sold in this State in effect on the effective date of this section is increased. After such an increased tax rate becomes effective, an amount equal to the amount generated by the increase in the tax rate shall be annually credited to the fund, not to exceed an amount equal to the amount generated by a tax rate of three-eighths of one percent imposed upon the retail sales price of tangible personal property and the furnishing of enumerated services sold in this State.[1]


See also

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