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Article IX, New Mexico Constitution

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New Mexico Constitution
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Preamble
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXIXIIXIIIXIVXVXVIXVIIXVIIIXIXXXXXIXXIIXXIIIXXIV
Article IX of the New Mexico Constitution is entitled State, County and Municipal Indebtedness and consists of 16 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Debts of Territory and Its Counties Assumed

The state hereby assumes the debts and liabilities of the territory of New Mexico, and the debts of the counties thereof, which were valid and subsisting on June twentieth, nineteen hundred and ten, and pledges its faith and credit for the payment thereof. The legislature shall, at its first session, provide for the payment or refunding thereof by the issue and sale of bonds, or otherwise.

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Payment of County Debts by Another County

No county shall be required to pay any portion of the debt of any other county so assumed by the state, and the bonds of Grant and Santa Fe counties which were validated, approved and confirmed by act of congress of January sixteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven, shall be paid as hereinafter provided.

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

State Refunding Bonds for Assumed Debts

The bonds authorized by law to provide for the payment of such indebtedness shall be issued in three series, as follows:

Series A. To provide for the payment of such debts and liabilities of the territory of New Mexico.
Series B. To provide for the payment of such debts of said counties.
Series C. To provide for the payment of the bonds and accrued interest thereon of Grant and Santa Fe counties which were validated, approved and confirmed by act of congress, January sixteenth, eighteen hundred and ninety-seven.

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Sale of Lands for Certain Bond Payments

The proper officers of the state shall, as soon as practicable, select and locate the one million acres of land granted to the state by congress for the payment of the said bonds of Grant and Santa Fe counties, and sell the same or sufficient thereof to pay the interest and principal of the bonds of Series C issued as provided in Section Three hereof. The proceeds of rentals and sales of said land shall be kept in a separate fund and applied to the payment of the interest and principal of the bonds of Series C. Whenever there is not sufficient money in said fund to meet the interest and sinking fund requirements therefore, the deficiency shall be paid out of any funds of the state not otherwise appropriated, and shall be repaid to the state or to the several counties which may have furnished any portion thereof under a general levy, out of the proceeds subsequently received of rentals and sales of said lands.

Any money received by the state from rentals and sales of said lands in excess of the amounts required for the purposes above-mentioned shall be paid into the current and permanent school funds of the state respectively.

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Remission of County Debts to State Prohibited

The legislature shall never enact any law releasing any county, or any of the taxable property therein, from its obligation to pay to the state any moneys expended by the state by reason of its assumption or payment of the debt of such county.

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Militia Warrants

No law shall ever be passed by the legislature validating or legalizing, directly or indirectly, the militia warrants alleged to be outstanding against the territory of New Mexico, or any portion thereof; and no such warrant shall be prima facie or conclusive evidence of the validity of the debt purporting to be evidenced thereby or by any other militia warrant. This provision shall not be construed as authorizing any suit against the state.

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

State Indebtedness; Purposes

The state may borrow money not exceeding the sum of two hundred thousand dollars [($200,000)] in the aggregate to meet casual deficits or failure in revenue, or for necessary expenses. The state may also contract debts to suppress insurrection and to provide for the public defense.

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

State Indebtedness; Restrictions

A. No debt other than those specified in the preceding section shall be contracted by or on behalf of this state, unless authorized by law for some specified work or object; which law shall provide for an annual tax levy sufficient to pay the interest and to provide a sinking fund to pay the principal of such debt within fifty years from the time of the contracting thereof. No such law shall take effect until it shall have been submitted to the qualified electors of the state and have received a majority of all the votes cast thereon at a general election; such law shall be published in full in at least one newspaper in each county of the state, if one be published therein, once each week, for four successive weeks next preceding such election. No debt shall be so created if the total indebtedness of the state, exclusive of the debts of the territory, and the several counties thereof, assumed by the state, would thereby be made to exceed one percent of the assessed valuation of all the property subject to taxation in the state as shown by the preceding general assessment.

B. For the purposes of this section and Article 4, Section 29 of the constitution of New Mexico, a financing agreement entered into by the state for the leasing of a building or other real property with an option to purchase for a price that is reduced according to the payments made by the state pursuant to the financing agreement is not a debt if:

(1) there is no legal obligation for the state to continue the lease from year to year or to purchase the real property; and
(2) the agreement provides that the lease shall be terminated if sufficient appropriations are not available to meet the current lease payments.

Amendments

(As amended November 3, 1964 and November 7, 2006.)

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Use of Borrowed Funds

Any money borrowed by the state, or any county, district or municipality thereof, shall be applied to the purpose for which it was obtained, or to repay such loan, and to no other purpose whatever.

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

County Indebtedness; Restrictions

No county shall borrow money except for the following purposes:

A. erecting, remodeling and making additions to necessary public buildings;

B. constructing or repairing public roads and bridges and purchasing capital equipment for such projects;

C. constructing or acquiring a system for supplying water, including the acquisition of water and water rights, necessary real estate or rights-of-way and easements;

D. constructing or acquiring a sewer system, including the necessary real estate or rights-of-way and easements;

E. constructing an airport or sanitary landfill, including the necessary real estate;

F. acquiring necessary real estate for open space, open space trails and related areas and facilities; or

G. the purchase of books and other library resources for libraries in the county.

In such cases, indebtedness shall be incurred only after the proposition to create such debt has been submitted to the registered voters of the county and approved by a majority of those voting thereon. No bonds issued for such purpose shall run for more than fifty years. Provided, however, that no money derived from general obligation bonds issued and sold hereunder shall be used for maintaining existing buildings and, if so, such bonds shall be invalid.

Amendments

(As amended November 3, 1964, November 2, 1982, November 8, 1988 and November 5, 1996.)

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

School District Indebtedness; Restrictions

A. Except as provided in Subsection C of this section, no school district shall borrow money except for the purpose of erecting, remodeling, making additions to and furnishing school buildings or purchasing or improving school grounds or any combination of these purposes, and in such cases only when the proposition to create the debt has been submitted to a vote of such qualified electors of the district as are owners of real estate within the school district and a majority of those voting on the question has voted in favor of creating such debt.

B. No school district shall ever become indebted in an amount exceeding six percent on the assessed valuation of the taxable property within the school district as shown by the preceding general assessment.

C. A school district may create a debt by entering into a lease-purchase arrangement to acquire education technology equipment without submitting the proposition to a vote of the qualified electors of the district, but any debt created is subject to the limitation of Subsection B of this section.

D. For the purposes of this section, a financing agreement entered into by a school district or a charter school for the leasing of a building or other real property with an option to purchase for a price that is reduced according to the payments made by the school district or charter school pursuant to the financing agreement is not a debt if:

(1) there is no legal obligation for the school district or charter school to continue the lease from year to year or to purchase the real property; and
(2) the agreement provides that the lease shall be terminated if sufficient money is not available to meet the current lease payments.

Amendments

(As amended September 19, 1933, September 28, 1965, November 5, 1996 and November 7, 2006.)

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Municipal Indebtedness; Restrictions

No city, town or village shall contract any debt except by an ordinance, which shall be irrepealable until the indebtedness therein provided for shall have been fully paid or discharged, and which shall specify the purposes to which the funds to be raised shall be applied, and which shall provide for the levy of a tax, not exceeding twelve mills on the dollar upon all taxable property within such city, town or village, sufficient to pay the interest on, and to extinguish the principal of, such debt within fifty years. The proceeds of such tax shall be applied only to the payment of such interest and principal. No such debt shall be created unless the question of incurring the same shall, at a regular election for councilmen, aldermen or other officers of such city, town or village, or at any special election called for such purpose, have been submitted to a vote of such qualified electors thereof as have paid a property tax therein during the preceding year, and a majority of those voting on the question by ballot deposited in a separate ballot box when voting in a regular election, shall have voted in favor of creating such debt. A proposal which does not receive the required number of votes for adoption at any special election called for that purpose, shall not be resubmitted in any special election within a period of one year. For the purpose, only, of voting on the creation of the debt, any person owning property within the corporate limits of the city, town or village who has paid a property tax therein during the preceding year and who is otherwise qualified to vote in the county where such city, town or village is situated shall be a qualified elector.

Amendments

(As amended November 3, 1964.)

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

County and Municipal Debt Limit; Exceptions

No county, city, town or village shall ever become indebted to an amount in the aggregate, including existing indebtedness, exceeding four per centum on the value of the taxable property within such county, city, town or village, as shown by the last preceding assessment for state or county taxes; and all bonds or obligations issued in excess of such amount shall be void; provided, that any city, town or village may contract debts in excess of such limitation for the construction or purchase of a system for supplying water, or of a sewer system, for such city, town or village.

Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Aid to Private Enterprise; Veterans' Scholarship Program; Student Loans; Job Opportunities; Affordable Housing

"Neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation or in aid of any private enterprise for the construction of any railroad except as provided in Subsections A through G of this section.

A. Nothing in this section prohibits the state or any county or municipality from making provision for the care and maintenance of sick and indigent persons.

B. Nothing in this section prohibits the state from establishing a veterans' scholarship program for Vietnam conflict veterans who are post-secondary students at educational institutions under the exclusive control of the state by exempting such veterans from the payment of tuition. For the purposes of this subsection, a "Vietnam conflict veteran" is any person who has been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States, who was a resident of New Mexico at the original time of entry into the armed forces from New Mexico or who has lived in New Mexico for ten years or more and who has been awarded a Vietnam campaign medal for service in the armed forces of this country in Vietnam during the period from August 5, 1964 to the official termination date of the Vietnam conflict as designated by executive order of the president of the United States.

C. The state may establish by law a program of loans to students of the healing arts, as defined by law, for residents of the state who, in return for the payment of educational expenses, contract with the state to practice their profession for a period of years after graduation within areas of the state designated by law.

D. Nothing in this section prohibits the state or a county or municipality from creating new job opportunities by providing land, buildings or infrastructure for facilities to support new or expanding businesses if this assistance is granted pursuant to general implementing legislation that is approved by a majority vote of those elected to each house of the legislature. The implementing legislation shall include adequate safeguards to protect public money or other resources used for the purposes authorized in this subsection. The implementing legislation shall further provide that:

(1) each specific county or municipal project providing assistance pursuant to this subsection need not be approved by the legislature but shall be approved by the county or municipality pursuant to procedures provided in the implementing legislation; and
(2) each specific state project providing assistance pursuant to this subsection shall be approved by law.

E. Nothing in this section prohibits the state, or the instrumentality of the state designated by the legislature as the state's housing authority, or a county or a municipality from:

(1) donating or otherwise providing or paying a portion of the costs of land for the construction on it of affordable housing;
(2) donating or otherwise providing or paying a portion of the costs of construction or renovation of affordable housing or the costs of conversion or renovation of buildings into affordable housing; or
(3) providing or paying the costs of financing or infrastructure necessary to support affordable housing projects.

F. The provisions of Subsection E of this section are not self-executing. Before the described assistance may be provided, enabling legislation shall be enacted by a majority vote of the members elected to each house of the legislature. This enabling legislation shall:

(1) define "affordable housing;"
(2) establish eligibility criteria for the recipients of land, buildings and infrastructure;
(3) contain provisions to ensure the successful completion of affordable housing projects supported by assistance authorized pursuant to Subsection E of this section;
(4) require a county or municipality providing assistance pursuant to Subsection E of this section to give prior formal approval by ordinance for a specific affordable housing assistance grant and include in the ordinance the conditions of the grant;
(5) require prior approval by law of an affordable housing assistance grant by the state; and
(6) require the governing body of the instrumentality of the state, designated by the legislature as the state's housing authority, to give prior approval, by resolution, for affordable housing grants that are to be given by the instrumentality.

G. Nothing in this section prohibits the state from establishing a veterans' scholarship program, for military war veterans who are post-secondary students at educational institutions under the exclusive control of the state and who have exhausted all educational benefits offered by the United States department of defense or the United States department of veterans affairs, by exempting such veterans from the payment of tuition. For the purposes of this subsection, a "military war veteran" is any person who has been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States, who was a resident of New Mexico at the original time of entry into the armed forces or who has lived in New Mexico for ten years or more and who has been awarded a southwest Asia service medal, global war on terror service medal, Iraq campaign medal, Afghanistan campaign medal or any other medal issued for service in the armed forces of this country in support of any United States military campaign or armed conflict as defined by congress or by presidential executive order or any other campaign medal issued for service after August 1, 1990 in the armed forces of the United States during periods of armed conflict as defined by congress or by executive order."

Amendments

(As amended November 1, 1971, November 5, 1974, November 8, 1994, November 5, 2002, November 7, 2006, and November 2, 2010)

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

State and Local Refunding Bonds

Nothing in this article shall be construed to prohibit the issue of bonds for the purpose of paying or refunding any valid state, county, district or municipal bonds and it shall not be necessary to submit the question of the issue of such bonds to a vote as herein provided.

Section 16

Text of Section 16:

State Highway Bonds

Laws enacted by the fifth legislature authorizing the issue and sale of state highway bonds for the purpose of providing funds for the construction and improvement of state highways and to enable the state to meet and secure allotments of federal funds to aid in construction and improvement of roads, and laws so enacted authorizing the issue and sale of state highway debentures to anticipate the collection of revenues from motor vehicle licenses and other revenues provided by law for the state road fund, shall take effect without submitting them to the electors of the state, and notwithstanding that the total indebtedness of the state may thereby temporarily exceed one per centum of the assessed valuation of all the property subject to taxation in the state. Provided, that the total amount of such state highway bonds payable from proceeds of taxes levied on property outstanding at any one time shall not exceed two million dollars [($2,000,000)]. The legislature shall not enact any law which will decrease the amount of the annual revenues pledged for the payment of state highway debentures or which will divert any of such revenues to any other purpose so long as any of the said debentures issued to anticipate the collection thereof remain unpaid.

Amendments

(As added September 20, 1921.)

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