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Revenue and Finance
Section 1. Tax purposes. Taxes shall
be levied by general laws for public purposes.
Section 2. Tax power inalienable. The
power to tax shall never be surrendered, suspended, or contracted
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.
Section 4. Equal valuation. All
taxing jurisdictions shall use the assessed valuation of property
established by the state.
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
(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
(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.
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,
(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.
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.
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
Section 9. Balanced budget.
Appropriations by the legislature shall not exceed anticipated
Section 10. Local government debt.
The legislature shall by law limit debts of counties, cities, towns,
and all other local governmental entities.
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.
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.
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 therefor,
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.
History: Amd. Const. Amend. No. 25, approved Nov. 8, 1994; amd.
Const. Amend. No. 35, approved Nov. 7, 2000.
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.
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.
History: En. Sec. 2, Const. Amend. No. 25, approved Nov. 8, 1994.
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%.
History: En. Sec. 1, Const. Amend. No. 27, approved Nov. 8, 1994.
Environment and Natural Resources