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Article VIII, Montana Constitution

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Montana Constitution
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Article VIII of the Montana Constitution is entitled Revenue and Finance and consists of 16 sections.

Section 1

Text of Section 1:

Tax Purposes

Taxes shall be levied by general laws for public purposes.[1]

Section 2

Text of Section 2:

Tax Power Inalienable

The power to tax shall never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted away.[1]

Section 3

Text of Section 3:

Property Tax Administration

The state shall appraise, assess, and equalize the valuation of all property which is to be taxed in the manner provided by law.[1]

Section 4

Text of Section 4:

Equal Valuation

All taxing jurisdictions shall use the assessed valuation of property established by the state.[1]

Section 5

Text of Section 5:

Property Tax Exemptions

(1) The legislature may exempt from taxation:

(a) Property of the United States, the state, counties, cities, towns, school districts, municipal corporations, and public libraries, but any private interest in such property may be taxed separately.

(b) Institutions of purely public charity, hospitals and places of burial not used or held for private or corporate profit, places for actual religious worship, and property used exclusively for educational purposes.

(c) Any other classes of property.

(2) The legislature may authorize creation of special improvement districts for capital improvements and the maintenance thereof. It may authorize the assessment of charges for such improvements and maintenance against tax exempt property directly benefited thereby.[1]

Section 6

Text of Section 6:

Highway Revenue Non-Diversion

(1) Revenue from gross vehicle weight fees and excise and license taxes (except general sales and use taxes) on gasoline, fuel, and other energy sources used to propel vehicles on public highways shall be used as authorized by the legislature, after deduction of statutory refunds and adjustments, solely for:

(a) Payment of obligations incurred for construction, reconstruction, repair, operation, and maintenance of public highways, streets, roads, and bridges.

(b) Payment of county, city, and town obligations on streets, roads, and bridges.

(c) Enforcement of highway safety, driver education, tourist promotion, and administrative collection costs.

(2) Such revenue may be appropriated for other purposes by a three-fifths vote of the members of each house of the legislature.[1]

Section 7

Text of Section 7:

Tax Appeals

The legislature shall provide independent appeal procedures for taxpayer grievances about appraisals, assessments, equalization, and taxes. The legislature shall include a review procedure at the local government unit level.[1]

Section 8

Text of Section 8:

State Debt

No state debt shall be created unless authorized by a two-thirds vote of the members of each house of the legislature or a majority of the electors voting thereon. No state debt shall be created to cover deficits incurred because appropriations exceeded anticipated revenue.[1]

Section 9

Text of Section 9:

Balanced Budget

Appropriations by the legislature shall not exceed anticipated revenue.[1]

Section 10

Text of Section 10:

Local Government Debt

The legislature shall by law limit debts of counties, cities, towns, and all other local governmental entities.[1]

Section 11

Text of Section 11:

Use of Loan Proceeds

All money borrowed by or on behalf of the state or any county, city, town, or other local governmental entity shall be used only for purposes specified in the authorizing law.[1]

Section 12

Text of Section 12:

Strict Accountability

The legislature shall by law insure strict accountability of all revenue received and money spent by the state and counties, cities, towns, and all other local governmental entities.[1]

Section 13

Text of Section 13:

Investment of Public Funds and Public Retirement System and State Compensation Insurance Fund Assets

(1) The legislature shall provide for a unified investment program for public funds and public retirement system and state compensation insurance fund assets and provide rules therefore, including supervision of investment of surplus funds of all counties, cities, towns, and other local governmental entities. Each fund forming a part of the unified investment program shall be separately identified. Except as provided in subsections (3) and (4), no public funds shall be invested in private corporate capital stock. The investment program shall be audited at least annually and a report thereof submitted to the governor and legislature.

(2) The public school fund and the permanent funds of the Montana university system and all other state institutions of learning shall be safely and conservatively invested in:

(a) Public securities of the state, its subdivisions, local government units, and districts within the state, or

(b) Bonds of the United States or other securities fully guaranteed as to principal and interest by the United States, or

(c) Such other safe investments bearing a fixed rate of interest as may be provided by law.

(3) Investment of public retirement system assets shall be managed in a fiduciary capacity in the same manner that a prudent expert acting in a fiduciary capacity and familiar with the circumstances would use in the conduct of an enterprise of a similar character with similar aims. Public retirement system assets may be invested in private corporate capital stock.

(4) Investment of state compensation insurance fund assets shall be managed in a fiduciary capacity in the same manner that a prudent expert acting in a fiduciary capacity and familiar with the circumstances would use in the conduct of a private insurance organization. State compensation insurance fund assets may be invested in private corporate capital stock. However, the stock investments shall not exceed 25 percent of the book value of the state compensation insurance fund's total invested assets.[1]


Section 14

Text of Section 14:

Prohibited Payments

Except for interest on the public debt, no money shall be paid out of the treasury unless upon an appropriation made by law and a warrant drawn by the proper officer in pursuance thereof.[1]

Section 15

Text of Section 15:

Public Retirement System Assets

(1) Public retirement systems shall be funded on an actuarially sound basis. Public retirement system assets, including income and actuarially required contributions, shall not be encumbered, diverted, reduced, or terminated and shall be held in trust to provide benefits to participants and their beneficiaries and to defray administrative expenses.

(2) The governing boards of public retirement systems shall administer the system, including actuarial determinations, as fiduciaries of system participants and their beneficiaries.[1]


Section 16

Text of Section 16:

Limitation on Sales Tax or Use Tax Rates

The rate of a general statewide sales tax or use tax may not exceed 4%.[1]


Section 17

Text of Section 17:

Prohibition on real property transfer taxes.

The state or any local government unit may not impose any tax, including a sales tax, on the sale or transfer of real property.[1]


See also

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