Article VIII, §1
Rule of taxation uniform; income, privilege and occupation taxes. Section 1. [As amended Nov. 1908, April 1927, April 1941, April 1961 and April 1974] The rule of taxation shall be uniform but the legislature may empower cities, villages or towns to collect and return taxes on real estate located therein by optional methods. Taxes shall be levied upon such property with such classifications as to forests and minerals including or separate or severed from the land, as the legislature shall prescribe. Taxation of agricultural land and undeveloped land, both as defined by law, need not be uniform with the taxation of each other nor with the taxation of other real property. Taxation of merchants' stock-in-trade, manufacturers' materials and finished products, and livestock need not be uniform with the taxation of real property and other personal property, but the taxation of all such merchants' stock-in-trade, manufacturers' materials and finished products and livestock shall be uniform, except that the legislature may provide that the value thereof shall be determined on an average basis. Taxes may also be imposed on incomes, privileges and occupations, which taxes may be graduated and progressive, and reasonable exemptions may be provided. [1905 J.R. 12, 1907 J.R. 29, 1907 c. 661, vote Nov. 1908; 1925 J.R. 62, 1927 J.R. 13, vote April 1927; 1939 J.R. 88, 1941 J.R. 18, vote April 1941; 1959 J.R. 78, 1961 J.R. 13, vote April 1961; 1971 J.R. 39, 1973 J.R. 29, vote April 1974]Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
While a sale establishes value, the assessment still has to be equal to that on comparable property. Sub. (2) (b) requires the assessor to fix a value before classifying the land. It does not prohibit the assessor from considering the zoning of the property when it is used for some other purpose. State ex rel. Hensel v. Town of Wilson, 55 Wis. 2d 101, 197 N.W.2d 794.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The fact that land purchased for industrial development under s. 66.521, Stats. 1969, [now s. 66.1103] and leased to a private person is not subject to a tax lien if taxes are not paid does not violate the uniformity provision. State ex rel. Hammermill Paper Co. v. La Plante, 58 Wis. 2d 32, 205 N.W.2d 784.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The Housing Authority Act, in granting tax exemptions to bonds, does not violate this section. State ex rel. Warren v. Nusbaum, 59 Wis. 2d 391, 208 N.W.2d 780.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A law requiring a reduction in rent due to property tax relief does not violate the uniformity clause. It is not a tax law. State ex rel. Bldg. Owners v. Adamany, 64 Wis. 2d 280, 219 N.W.2d 274.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The denial of equal protection claimed by the taxpayer, by reason of the exclusion from the "occasional sale" exemption of sellers holding permits was properly held by the trial court to be without merit. Ramrod, Inc. v. Dept. of Revenue, 64 Wis. 2d 499, 219 N.W.2d 604.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The income and property tax exemptions provided in the Solid Waste Recycling Authority Act bear a reasonable relation to a legitimate end of governmental action and therefore do not violate the Wisconsin Constitution, since the exemptions allow for reduction in user charges and in the cost of capital needs, thereby benefiting the state's citizens by promoting use of the Authority's facilities. Wisconsin Solid Waste Recycling Auth. v. Earl, 70 Wis. 2d 464, 235 N.W.2d 648.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
Negative-aid provisions of school district financing, as mandated by 121.07 and 121.08, Stats. (1973), are violative of the rule of uniform taxation. Buse v. Smith, 74 Wis. 2d 550, 247 N.W.2d 141.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
Improvements tax relief provisions of 79.24 and 79.25, 1977 stats., are unconstitutional as violative of uniformity clause. State ex rel. La Follette v. Torphy, 85 Wis. 2d 94, 270 N.W.2d 187 (1978).Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A tax exemption with a reasonable, though remote, relation to a legitimate government purpose was permissible. Madison General Hospital Asso. v. Madison, 92 Wis. 2d 125, 284 N.W.2d 603 (1979).Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The tax Increment Law, s.66.46 [now s. 66.1105] does not violate the uniformity rule. Sigma Tau Gamma Fraternity House v. Menomonie, 93 Wis. 2d 392, 288 N.W.2d 85 (1980).Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A contract by which a landowner agreed to petition for annexation to a city, not to develop land, and to grant water rights to the city in exchange for reimbursement of all property taxes violated the uniformity rule. Cornwell v. City of Stevens Point, 159 Wis. 2d 136, 464 N.W.2d 33 (Ct. App. 1990).Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
For purposes of the uniformity clause, there is only one class of property, property that is taxable, and the burden of taxation must be borne as nearly as practicable among all property, based on value. Noah's Ark Family Park v. Village of Lake Delton, 210 Wis. 2d 301, 565 N.W.2d 230 (Ct. App. 1997). Affirmed 216 Wis. 2d 387, 573 N.W.2d 852 (1998), 96-1074.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
To prove a statute unconstitutional due to a violation of the uniformity clause, a taxpayer must initially prove that his property has been overvalued while other property has been undervalued. Norquist v. Zeuske, 211 Wis. 2d 241, 564 N.W.2d 748 (1997), 96-1812.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
Sections 70.47 (13), 70.85, and 74.37 provide the exclusive method to challenge a municipality's bases for assessment of individual parcels. All require appeal to the board of review prior to court action. There is no alternative procedure to challenge an assessment's compliance with the uniformity clause. Hermann v. Town of Delavan, 215 Wis. 2d 370, 572 N.W.2d 855 (1998), 96-0171.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
The uniformity clause is limited to property taxes, recurring ad valorem taxes on property, as opposed to transactional taxes such as those imposed on income or sales. Telemark Development, Inc. v. DOR, 218 Wis. 2d 809, 581 N.W.2d 585 (Ct. App. 1998), 97-3133.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A partial exemption from property taxation, proposed for land conveyed to The National Audubon Society, Inc., probably is unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the 14th amendment and the rule of uniformity. 61 Atty. Gen. 173.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
Competitive bidding for the issuance of a liquor license violates this section. 61 Atty. Gen. 180.Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A bill providing for a tax on all known commercially feasible low-grade iron ore reserve deposits in Wisconsin, would appear to violate the uniformity of taxation provisions of sec. 1. 63 Atty. Gen. 3.
Article VIII, §1 - ANNOT.
A law providing that improvements to real property would be assessed as of the date of completion of the improvements would be unconstitutional. 81 Atty. Gen. 94.Article VIII, §2
Appropriations; limitation. Section 2. [As amended Nov. 1877] No money shall be paid out of the treasury except in pursuance of an appropriation by law. No appropriation shall be made for the payment of any claim against the state except claims of the United States and judgments, unless filed within six years after the claim accrued. [1876 J.R. 7, 1877 J.R. 4, 1877 c. 158, vote Nov. 1877]Article VIII, §2 - ANNOT.
The creation of a continuing appropriation by one legislature does not restrict a subsequent legislature from reallocating the unexpended, unencumbered public funds subject to the original appropriation. Flynn v. Department of Administration, 216 Wis. 2d 521, 576 N.W.2d 245 (1998), 96-3266.Article VIII, §2 - ANNOT.
Although there is no specific clause in the constitution establishing the public purpose doctrine, the doctrine is firmly accepted as a basic tenet of the constitution, mandating that public appropriations may not be used for other than public purposes. Courts are to give great weight and afford very wide discretion to legislative declarations of public purpose, but are not bound by such legislative expressions. It is the duty of the court to determine whether a public purpose can be conceived that might reasonably justify the basis of the duty. Town of Beloit v. County of Rock, 2003 WI 8, 259 Wis. 2d 37, 657 N.W.2d 344, 00-1231.Article VIII, §2 - ANNOT.
Funds may not be used to construct a project that has not been provided for in either the long-range building program or specifically described in the session laws. 61 Atty. Gen. 298.Article VIII, §2 - ANNOT.
The constitution does not preclude grants of state money to private parties for the purpose of affording disaster relief under the Disaster Relief Act of 1974. An appropriation by the legislature is required, however, to provide the state funding contemplated by the Act. Federal advances under the Act are limited by Art. VIII, sec. 6. 64 Atty. Gen. 39.Article VIII, §3
Credit of state. Section 3. [As amended April 1975] Except as provided in s. 7 (2) (a), the credit of the state shall never be given, or loaned, in aid of any individual, association or corporation. [1973 J.R. 38, 1975 J.R. 3, vote April 1975]Article VIII, §4
Contracting state debts. Section 4. The state shall never contract any public debt except in the cases and manner herein provided.Article VIII, §4 - ANNOT.
The Housing Authority Act does not create a state debt even though it calls for legislative appropriations in future years to service payment of notes and bonds. State ex rel. Warren v. Nusbaum, 59 Wis. 2d 391, 208 N.W.2d 780.Article VIII, §4 - ANNOT.
An authority's power to issue notes and bonds does not constitute the creation of a state debt or a pledge of the state's credit in violation of art. VIII, since the creating act specifically prohibited the authority from incurring state debt or pledging state credit, and the provision of the act recognizing a moral obligation on the part of the legislature to make up deficits does not create an obligation legally enforceable against the state. Wisconsin Solid Waste Recycling Auth. v. Earl, 70 Wis. 2d 464, 235 N.W.2d 648.Article VIII, §4 - ANNOT.
Because operating notes are to be paid from money in the process of collection, notes are not public debt. State ex rel. La Follette v. Stitt, 114 Wis. 2d 358, 338 N.W.2d 684 (1983).Article VIII, §4 - ANNOT.
An agreement to pay rent under a long-term lease would amount to contracting a debt unless the lease is made subject to the availability of future funds. 60 Atty. Gen. 408.Article VIII, §4 - ANNOT.
Borrowing money from federal government to replenish Wisconsin's unemployment compensation fund does not contravene either art. VIII, sec. 3 or 4. 71 Atty. Gen. 95.Article VIII, §5
Annual tax levy to equal expenses. Section 5. The legislature shall provide for an annual tax sufficient to defray the estimated expenses of the state for each year; and whenever the expenses of any year shall exceed the income, the legislature shall provide for levying a tax for the ensuing year, sufficient, with other sources of income, to pay the deficiency as well as the estimated expenses of such ensuing year.Article VIII, §5 - ANNOT.
Deficit reported in financial statements prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles would not violate this section. 74 Atty. Gen. 202.Article VIII, §6
Public debt for extraordinary expense; taxation. Section 6. For the purpose of defraying extraordinary expenditures the state may contract public debts (but such debts shall never in the aggregate exceed one hundred thousand dollars). Every such debt shall be authorized by law, for some purpose or purposes to be distinctly specified therein; and the vote of a majority of all the members elected to each house, to be taken by yeas and nays, shall be necessary to the passage of such law; and every such law shall provide for levying an annual tax sufficient to pay the annual interest of such debt and the principal within five years from the passage of such law, and shall specially appropriate the proceeds of such taxes to the payment of such principal and interest; and such appropriation shall not be repealed, nor the taxes be postponed or diminished, until the principal and interest of such debt shall have been wholly paid.Article VIII, §6 - ANNOT.
The constitution does not preclude grants of state money to private parties for the purpose of affording disaster relief under the federal Disaster Relief Act of 1974;. An appropriation by the legislature is required, however, to provide the state funding contemplated by the Act. Federal advances under the Act are limited by Art. VIII, sec. 6. 64 Atty. Gen. 39.Article VIII, §7
Public debt for public defense; bonding for public purposes. Section 7. [As amended April 1969, April 1975 and April 1992]
Article VIII, §7 ¶(1) (1) The legislature may also borrow money to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the state in time of war; but the money thus raised shall be applied exclusively to the object for which the loan was authorized, or to the repayment of the debt thereby created.
Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (2) Any other provision of this constitution to the contrary notwithstanding:
Article VIII, §7 �(2) (a) (a) The state may contract public debt and pledges to the payment thereof its full faith, credit and taxing power:
Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (a) 1. 1. To acquire, construct, develop, extend, enlarge or improve land, waters, property, highways, railways, buildings, equipment or facilities for public purposes.
Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (a) 2. 2. To make funds available for veterans' housing loans.
Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (b) (b) The aggregate public debt contracted by the state in any calendar year pursuant to paragraph (a) shall not exceed an amount equal to the lesser of:
Article VIII, §7 �(2) (b) 1. 1. Three-fourths of one per centum of the aggregate value of all taxable property in the state; or
Article VIII, §7 ¶�(2) (b) 2. 2. Five per centum of the aggregate value of all taxable property in the state less the sum of: a. the aggregate public debt of the state contracted pursuant to this section outstanding as of January 1 of such calendar year after subtracting therefrom the amount of sinking funds on hand on January 1 of such calendar year which are applicable exclusively to repayment of such outstanding public debt and, b. the outstanding indebtedness as of January 1 of such calendar year of any entity of the type described in paragraph (d) to the extent that such indebtedness is supported by or payable from payments out of the treasury of the state.
Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (c) (c) The state may contract public debt, without limit, to fund or refund the whole or any part of any public debt contracted pursuant to paragraph (a), including any premium payable with respect thereto and any interest to accrue thereon, or to fund or refund the whole or any part of any indebtedness incurred prior to January 1, 1972, by any entity of the type described in paragraph (d), including any premium payable with respect thereto and any interest to accrue thereon.Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (d) (d)
No money shall be paid out of the treasury, with respect to any lease, sublease or other agreement entered into after January 1, 1971, to the Wisconsin State Agencies Building Corporation, Wisconsin State Colleges Building Corporation, Wisconsin State Public Building Corporation, Wisconsin University Building Corporation or any similar entity existing or operating for similar purposes pursuant to which such nonprofit corporation or such other entity undertakes to finance or provide a facility for use or occupancy by the state or an agency, department or instrumentality thereof.Article VIII, §7 ¶(2) (e) (e)
The legislature shall prescribe all matters relating to the contracting of public debt pursuant to paragraph (a), including: the public purposes for which public debt may be contracted; by vote of a majority of the members elected to each of the 2 houses of the legislature, the amount of public debt which may be contracted for any class of such purposes; the public debt or other indebtedness which may be funded or refunded; the kinds of notes, bonds or other evidence of public debt which may be issued by the state; and the manner in which the aggregate value of all taxable property in the state shall be determined.