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Washington Forty Mills Limit on Property, HJR 1 (1944)
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It was the 17th amendment approved to the Washington State Constitution subsequent to its adoption in 1889.
The original constitution of 1889 had an Article VII with an original nine sections. Amendment 14, enacted in 1930, deleted the first four of those original sections. When Amendment 17 was enacted in 1944, it was enacted as Section 2, entirely replacing the section that had been deleted 14 years earlier with Amendment 14.
Section 2 of Article VII has been amended several times subsequent to Amendment 17.
Text of Amendment 17
- FORTY MILL LIMIT -- Except as hereinafter provided and notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the aggregate of all tax levies upon real and personal property by the state and all taxing districts now existing or hereafter created, shall not in any year exceed forty mills on the dollar of assessed valuation, which assessed valuation shall be fifty per centum of the true and fair value of such property in money: Provided, however, That nothing herein shall prevent levies at the rates now provided by law by or for any port or public utility district. The term "taxing district" for the purposes of this section shall mean any political subdivision, municipal corporation, district, or other governmental agency authorized by law to levy, or have levied for it, ad valorem taxes on property, other than a port or public utility district. Such aggregate limitation or any specific limitation imposed by law in conformity therewith may be exceeded only
- (a) By any taxing district when specifically authorized so to do by a majority of at least three-fifths of the electors thereof voting on the proposition to levy such additional tax submitted not more than twelve months prior to the date on which the proposed levy is to be made and not oftener than twice in such twelve month period, either at a special election or at the regular election of such taxing district, at which election the number of persons voting on the proposition shall constitute not less than forty per centum of the total number of votes cast in such taxing district at the last preceding general election;
- (b) By any taxing district otherwise authorized by law to issue general obligation bonds for capital purposes, for the sole purpose of making the required payments of principal and interest on general obligation bonds issued solely for capital purposes, other than the replacement of equipment, when authorized so to do by majority of at least three-fifths of the electors thereof voting on the proposition to issue such bonds and to pay the principal and interest thereon by an annual tax levy in excess of the limitation herein provided during the term of such bonds, submitted not oftener than twice in any calendar year, at an election held in the manner provided by law for bond elections in such taxing district, at which election the total number of persons voting on the proposition shall constitute not less than forty per centum of the total number of votes cast in such taxing district at the last preceding general election: Provided, That any such taxing district shall have the right by vote of its governing body to refund any general obligation bonds of said district issued for capital purposes only, and to provide for the interest thereon and amortization thereof by annual levies in excess of the tax limitation provided for herein, and Provided further, That the provisions of this section shall also be subject to the limitations contained in Article VIII, Section 6, of this Constitution;
- (c) By the state or any taxing district for the purpose of paying the principal or interest on general obligation bonds outstanding on December 6, 1934; or for the purpose of preventing the impairment of the obligation of a contract when ordered so to do by a court of last resort.
Subsequent amendments to Section 2, Article VII
- Washington Aggregate Annual Levy Limit of 40 Mills, Amendment 55 (1972)
- Washington Formula Governing Excess Property Tax Levies, Amendment 59 (1972)
- Washington 1% Levy Limit, Amendment 79 (1986)
- Washington Four-Year Tax Levies, Amendment 90 (1997)
- Washington Fire District Tax Levies, Amendment 95 (2002)
- Washington House Joint Resolution 4204 (2007)
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