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NOTE.—Inasmuch as the States are alphabetically arranged and the constitu-
tional taxing provisions will follow the same general order as that for Ala-
In connection with its study of the Federal and State taxing systems, the staff of the Joint Committee on Internal Revenue Taxation submits herewith a compilation of the provisions of the constitutions of the several States with respect to taxation, which it is believed will appropriately follow the staff's report on the Taxing Powers of the Federal and State Governments. The present report does not, however, include interpretations of the courts relative to these constitutional provisions except in a very few instances where it seemed manifestly necessary so to do. This compilation shows not only the provisions of the several constitutions which directly relate to taxation and confer the powers, as well as prescribe the limitations or restrictions of the States and their various political subdivisions in this regard, but it also shows other provisions which bear some, but a less direct, relation to the subject, such as the Wife's Separate Estate, Alien, and Nonresident Property Rights. The community property States are also shown.
The nature of the compilation of necessity makes it quite voluminous, and it is believed that without sacrifice to its value, a number of subjects can be covered in a general statement and that in some instances they can be covered by a syllabus of constitutional provisions, and in other cases by a reference to such provisions alone.
The subjects treated are as follows:
(a) Legislative authority and origin of revenue bills.-With the exception of Nebraska, which now has a unicameral legislature, the constitution of each State vests its legislative authority in a body of two chambers. By specific constitutional provisions revenue bills are required to originate in the lower chamber, or house of representatives, in the States of Alabama, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, and Wyoming.
(6) Debt limitations.-A number of the constitutions have provisions limiting or restricting the public debt of the State and local taxing units. These provisions have so many exceptions with respect to the purposes for which additional indebtedness may be incurred, and with respect to bond issues, that it has not been thought necessary to include debt limitations in this report. It is proper to state, however, that in most instances increases above the constitutional limits may only be incurred by authority of the voters within the territory affected thereby.
(c) Taxes for religious purposes. Many of the State constitutions prohibit the levy of taxes for religious or sectarian purposes, and some declare taxes shall be laid for public purposes only. These provisions but restate an inherent limitation and a basic principle of State Government, for a tax levied for a purpose other than "public" is held invalid by Federal and State courts. It is, of course, recognized that the validity of any such tax would depend upon the determination of a fact whether or not it was imposed for a public purpose; but in view of the well-established principle that taxes may be only levied for a public purpose, it is not deemed necessary to include in this report the constitutional prohibitions with respect to taxes or appropriations for religious purposes.
(d) Taxation of distilled and malt liquors.—Since the repeal of the eighteenth amendment to the Federal Constitution, a number of the States whose constitutions prohibited the sale of alcoholic beverages have adopted amendments legalizing such sales. These amendments are not included in this report.
(e) Income and death taxes.-Both income and death taxes in some form have now been adopted as a part of the taxing systems of most of the States. The Constitution of Florida is the only one which specifically prohibits an income tax, and death taxes are imposed in each State except Nevada.
In this report, when specific authority for the imposition of income or death taxes is given in the State constitution, reference only is made to the sections thereof, unless there appears reason to quote them in full.
(f) Franchise and license taxes.—Since the infancy of the Federal Union, franchise and license or occupational taxes have been imposed in each of the States. Because of their universal imposition, reference will only be made to the constitutional provisions where such taxes are specifically authorized unless reasons appear why they should be quoted in full.
(9) Poll taxes.-Poll, head, or capitation taxes have also existed since the establishment of the Union. Without a constitutional limitation, it is believed the power of the States to impose them would not be questioned. Where there is, however, constitutional provision, either specifically authorizing, prohibiting, or restricting such taxes, it will be cited.
(h) Community property.-In eight States of the Union the system of community property exists. These States are Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Washington. This system of property ownership was in effect when these States were admitted into the Union and was generally continued by statutory provisions. Only Nevada and Texas now have constitutional provisions (which are identical and quoted below) with respect to the community ownership of husband and wife. We refer to the subject here for the reason that such recognition of ownership of real and personal property materially affects both the Federal and State revenue, particularly when income is involved.
The Nevada Constitution, article IV, Section 31, is as follows:
All property, both real and personal, of the wife, owned or claimed by her before marriage, and that acquired afterward by gift, devise, or descent, shall be her separate property; and laws shall be passed more clearly defining the rights of the wife in relation, as well to her separate property as to that held in common with her husband. Laws shall also be passed providing for the registration of the wife's separate property.
The Texas Constitution, article XVI, section 15, is identical.
(i) Tares for social security.-Although the 48 States have enacted legislation bringing themselves within one or more of the