ARTICLE VIII. FINANCE.
SECTION 1. [Rule of taxation uniform; income, privilege and
occupation taxes.] 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.
SECTION 2. [Appropriations; limitation.]
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
SECTION 3. [Credit of state.] 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.
SECTION 4. [Contracting state debts.] The state shall never
contract any public debt except in the cases and manner herein
SECTION 5. [Annual tax levy to equal expenses.] 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.
SECTION 6. [Public debt for extraordinary expense; taxation.]
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.
SECTION 7. [Public debt for public defense; bonding for public
- (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
- (2) Any other provision of this constitution to the contrary
- (a) The state may contract public debt and pledges to the
payment thereof its full faith, credit and taxing power:
1. To acquire, construct, develop, extend, enlarge or improve
land, waters, property, highways, railways, buildings, equipment
or facilities for public purposes.
2. To make funds available for veterans' housing loans.
- (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-
1. Three-fourths of one per centum of the aggregate value of
all taxable property in the state; or
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.
- (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.
- (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
- (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.
- (f) The full faith, credit and taxing power of the state are
pledged to the payment of all public debt created on behalf of the
state pursuant to this section and the legislature shall provide by
appropriation for the payment of the interest upon and instalments
of principal of all such public debt as the same falls due, but, in any
event, suit may be brought against the state to compel such payment.
- (g) At any time after January 1, 1972, by vote of a majority of
the members elected to each of the 2 houses of the legislature, the
legislature may declare that an emergency exists and submit to the
people a proposal to authorize the state to contract a specific
amount of public debt for a purpose specified in such proposal,
without regard to the limit provided in paragraph (b). Any such
authorization shall be effective if approved by a majority of the
electors voting thereon. Public debt contracted pursuant to such
authorization shall thereafter be deemed to have been contracted
pursuant to paragraph (a), but neither such public debt nor any
public debt contracted to fund or refund such public debt shall be
considered in computing the debt limit provided in paragraph (b).
Not more than one such authorization shall be thus made in any
SECTION 8. [Vote on fiscal bills; quorum.] On the passage
in either house of the legislature of any law which imposes, continues
or renews a tax, or creates a debt or charge, or makes, continues
or renews an appropriation of public or trust money, or
releases, discharges or commutes a claim or demand of the state,
the question shall be taken by yeas and nays, which shall be duly
entered on the journal; and three-fifths of all the members elected
to such house shall in all such cases be required to constitute a
SECTION 9. [Evidences of public debt.] No scrip, certificate,
or other evidence of state debt, whatsoever, shall be issued, except
for such debts as are authorized by the sixth and seventh sections
of this article.
SECTION 10. [Internal improvements.]
Except as further provided in this section, the state may
never contract any debt for works of internal improvement, or be
a party in carrying on such works.
- (1) Whenever grants of land or other property shall have been
made to the state, especially dedicated by the grant to particular
works of internal improvement, the state may carry on such particular
works and shall devote thereto the avails of such grants, and
may pledge or appropriate the revenues derived from such works
in aid of their completion.
- (2) The state may appropriate money in the treasury or to be
thereafter raised by taxation for:
- (a) The construction or improvement of public highways.
- (b) The development, improvement and construction of
airports or other aeronautical projects.
- (c) The acquisition, improvement or construction of veterans'
- (d)The improvement of port facilities.
- (e) The acquisition, development, improvement or
construction of railways and other railroad facilities.
- (3) The state may appropriate moneys for the purpose of
acquiring, preserving and developing the forests of the state. Of
the moneys appropriated under the authority of this subsection in
any one year an amount not to exceed two-tenths of one mill of
the taxable property of the state as determined by the last
preceding state assessment may be raised by a tax on property.
Revised March 2, 2000.