Debt

 

ARTICLE VII

State Finances

[Short term state debts in anticipation of taxes, revenues and proceeds of sale of authorized bonds]

§9. The state may contract debts in anticipation of the receipt of taxes and revenues, direct or indirect, for the purposes and within the amounts of appropriations theretofore made. Notes or other obligations for the moneys so borrowed shall be issued as may be provided by law, and shall with the interest thereon be paid from such taxes and revenues within one year from the date of issue.

The state may also contract debts in anticipation of the receipt of the proceeds of the sale of bonds theretofore authorized, for the purpose and within the amounts of the bonds so authorized. Notes or obligations for the money so borrowed shall be issued as may be provided by law, and shall with the interest thereon be paid from the proceeds of the sale of such bonds within two years from the date of issue, except as to bonds issued or to be issued for any of the purposes authorized by article eighteen of this constitution, in which event the notes or obligations shall with the interest thereon be paid from the proceeds of the sale of such bonds within five years from the date of issue. (Formerly §2. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 4, 1958; November 7, 1995.)

[State debts on account of invasion, insurrection, war and forest fires]

§10. In addition to the above limited power to contract debts, the state may contract debts to repel invasion, suppress insurrection, or defend the state in war, or to suppress forest fires; but the money arising from the contracting of such debts shall be applied for the purpose for which it was raised, or to repay such debts, and to no other purpose whatever. (Formerly §3. Renumbered by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938.)

[State debts generally; manner of contracting; referendum]

§11. Except the debts or refunding debts specified in sections 9, 10 and 13 of this article, no debt shall be hereafter contracted by or in behalf of the state, unless such debt shall be authorized by law, for some single work or purpose, to be distinctly specified therein. No such law shall take effect until it shall, at a general election, have been submitted to the people, and have received a majority of all the votes cast for and against it at such election nor shall it be submitted to be voted on within three months after its passage nor at any general election when any other law or any bill shall be submitted to be voted for or against.

The legislature may, at any time after the approval of such law by the people, if no debt shall have been contracted in pursuance thereof, repeal the same; and may at any time, by law, forbid the contracting of any further debt or liability under such law. (Formerly §4. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 2, 1993.)

[State debts generally; how paid; contribution to sinking funds; restrictions on use of bond proceeds]

§12. Except the debts or refunding debts specified in sections 9, 10 and 13 of this article, all debts contracted by the state and each portion of any such debt from time to time so contracted shall be subject to the following rules:

1. The principal of each debt or any portion thereof shall either be paid in equal annual installments or in installments that result in substantially level or declining debt service payments such as shall be authorized by law, or, in the alternative, contributions of principal in the amount that would otherwise be required to be paid annually shall be made to a sinking fund.

2. When some portions of the same debt are payable annually while other portions require contributions to a sinking fund, the entire debt shall be structured so that the combined amount of annual installments of principal paid and/or annual contributions of principal made in each year shall be equal to the amount that would be required to be paid if the entire debt were payable in annual installments.

3. When interest on state obligations is not paid at least annually, there shall also be contributed to a sinking fund at least annually, the amount necessary to bring the balance thereof, including income earned on contributions, to the accreted value of the obligations to be paid therefrom on the date such contribution is made, less the sum of all required future contributions of principal, in the case of sinking fund obligations, or payments of principal, in the case of serial obligations. Notwithstanding the foregoing, nothing contained in this subdivision shall be deemed to require contributions for interest to sinking funds if total debt service due on the debt or portion thereof in the year such interest is due will be substantially the same as the total debt service due on such debt or portion thereof in each other year or if the total amount of debt service due in each subsequent year on such debt or portion thereof shall be less than the total debt service due in each prior year.

4. The first annual installment on such debt shall be paid, or the first annual contribution shall be made to a sinking fund, not more than one year, and the last installment shall be paid, or contribution made not more than forty years, after such debt or portion thereof shall have been contracted, provided, however, that in contracting any such debt the privilege of paying all or any part of such debt prior to the date on which the same shall be due may be reserved to the state in such manner as may be provided by law.

5. No such debt shall be contracted for a period longer than that of the probable life of the work or purpose for which the debt is to be contracted, or in the alternative, the weighted average period of probable life of the works or purposes for which such indebtedness is to be contracted. The probable lives of such works or purposes shall be determined by general laws, which determination shall be conclusive.

6. The money arising from any loan creating such debt or liability shall be applied only to the work or purpose specified in the act authorizing such debt or liability, or for the payment of such debt or liability, including any notes or obligations issued in anticipation of the sale of bonds evidencing such debt or liability.

7. Any sinking funds created pursuant to this section shall be maintained and managed by the state comptroller or an agent or trustee designated by the state comptroller, and amounts in sinking funds created pursuant to this section, and earnings thereon, shall be used solely for the purpose of retiring the obligations secured thereby except that amounts in excess of the required balance on any contribution date and amounts remaining in such funds after all of the obligations secured thereby have been retired shall be deposited in the general fund.

8. No appropriation shall be required for disbursement of money, or income earned thereon, from any sinking fund created pursuant to this section for the purpose of paying principal of and interest on the obligations for which such fund was created, except that interest shall be paid from any such fund only if, and to the extent that, it is not payable annually and contributions on account of such interest were made thereto.

9. The provisions of section 15 of this article shall not apply to sinking funds created pursuant to this section.

10. When state obligations are sold at a discount, the debt incurred for purposes of determining the amount of debt issued or outstanding pursuant to a voter approved bond referendum or other limitation on the amount of debt that may be issued or outstanding for a work or purpose shall be deemed to include only the amount of money actually received by the state notwithstanding the face amount of such obligations. (Derived in part from former §4. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people, November 2, 1993.)

[Refund of state debts]

§13. The legislature may provide means and authority whereby any state debt or debts, or any portion or combination thereof, may be refunded in accordance with the following provisions:

1. State debts may be refunded at any time after they are incurred provided that the state will achieve a debt service savings on a present value basis as a result of the refunding transaction, and further provided that no maturity shall be called for redemption unless the privilege to pay prior to the maturity date was reserved to the state. The legislature may provide for the method of computation of present value for such purpose.

2. In no event shall refunding obligations be issued in an amount exceeding that necessary to provide sufficient funds to accomplish the refunding of the obligations to be refunded including paying all costs and expenses related to the refunding transaction and, in no event, shall the proceeds of refunding obligations be applied to any purpose other than accomplishing the refunding of the debt to be refunded and paying costs and expenses related to the refunding.

3. Proceeds of refunding obligations shall be deposited in escrow funds which shall be maintained and managed by the state comptroller or by an agent or trustee designated by the state comptroller and no legislative appropriation shall be required for disbursement of money, or income earned thereon, from such escrow funds for the purposes enumerated in this section.

4. Refunding obligations may be refunded pursuant to this section.

5. Refunding obligations shall either be paid in annual installments or annual contributions shall be made to a sinking fund in amounts sufficient to retire the refunding obligations at their maturity. No annual installments or contributions of principal need be made with respect to all or any portion of an issue of refunding obligations in years when debt service on such refunding obligations or portion thereof is paid or contributed entirely from an escrow fund created pursuant to subdivision 3 of this section or in years when no installments or contributions would have been due on the obligations to be refunded. So long as any of the refunding obligations remain outstanding, installments or contributions shall be made in any years that installments or contributions would have been due on the obligations to be refunded.

6. In no event shall the last annual installment or contribution on any portion of refunding debt, including refunding obligations issued to refund other refunding obligations, be made after the termination of the period of probable life of the projects financed with the proceeds of the relevant portion of the debt to be refunded, or any debt previously refunded with the refunding obligations to be refunded, determined as of the date of issuance of the original obligations pursuant to section 12 of this article to finance such projects, or forty years from such date, if earlier; provided, however, that in lieu of the foregoing, an entire refunding issue or portion thereof may be structured to mature over the remaining weighted average useful life of all projects financed with the obligations being refunded.

7. Subject to the provisions of subdivision 5 of this section, each annual installment or contribution of principal of refunding obligations shall be equal to the amount that would be required by subdivision 1 of section 12 of this article if such installments or contributions were required to be made from the year that the next installment or contribution would have been due on the obligations to be refunded, if they had not been refunded, until the final maturity of the refunding obligations but excluding any year in which no installment or contribution would have been due on the obligations to be refunded or, in the alternative, the total payments of principal and interest on the refunding bonds shall be less in each year to their final maturity than the total payments of principal and interest on the bonds to be refunded in each such year.

8. The provisions of subdivision 3 and subdivisions 7 through 9 of section 12 of this article shall apply to sinking funds created pursuant to this section for the payment at maturity of refunding obligations. (New. Adopted by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 2, 1993.)

[State debt for elimination of railroad crossings at grade; expenses; how borne; construction and reconstruction of state highways and parkways]

§14. The legislature may authorize by law the creation of a debt or debts of the state, not exceeding in the aggregate three hundred million dollars, to provide moneys for the elimination, under state supervision, of railroad crossings at grade within the state, and for incidental improvements connected therewith as authorized by this section. The provisions of this article, not inconsistent with this section, relating to the issuance of bonds for a debt or debts of the state and the maturity and payment thereof, shall apply to a state debt or debts created pursuant to this section; except that the law authorizing the contracting of such debt or debts shall take effect without submission to the people pursuant to section 11 of this article. The aggregate amount of a state debt or debts which may be created pursuant to this section shall not exceed the difference between the amount of the debt or debts heretofore created or authorized by law, under the provisions of section 14 of article VII of the constitution in force on July first, nineteen hundred thirty-eight, and the sum of three hundred million dollars.

The expense of any grade crossing elimination the construction work for which was not commenced before January first, nineteen hundred thirty-nine, including incidental improvements connected therewith as authorized by this section, whether or not an order for such elimination shall theretofore have been made, shall be paid by the state in the first instance, but the state shall be entitled to recover from the railroad company or companies, by way of reimbursement (1) the entire amount of the railroad improvements not an essential part of elimination, and (2) the amount of the net benefit to the company or companies from the elimination exclusive of such railroad improvements, the amount of such net benefit to be adjudicated after the completion of the work in the manner to be prescribed by law, and in no event to exceed fifteen per centum of the expense of the elimination, exclusive of all incidental improvements. The reimbursement by the railroad companies shall be payable at such times, in such manner and with interest at such rate as the legislature may prescribe.

The expense of any grade crossing elimination the construction work for which was commenced before January first, nineteen hundred thirty-nine, shall be borne by the state, railroad companies, and the municipality or municipalities in the proportions formerly prescribed by section 14 of article VII of the constitution in force on July first, nineteen hundred thirty-eight, and the law or laws enacted pursuant to its provisions, applicable to such elimination, and subject to the provisions of such former section and law or laws, including advances in aid of any railroad company or municipality, although such elimination shall not be completed until after January first, nineteen hundred thirty-nine.

A grade crossing elimination the construction work for which shall be commenced after January first, nineteen hundred thirty-nine, shall include incidental improvements rendered necessary or desirable because of such elimination, and reasonably included in the engineering plans therefor. Out of the balance of all moneys authorized to be expended under section 14 of article VII of the constitution in force on July first, nineteen hundred thirty-eight, and remaining unexpended and unobligated on such date, fifty million dollars shall be deemed segregated for grade crossing eliminations and incidental improvements in the city of New York and shall be available only for such purposes until such eliminations and improvements are completed and paid for.

Notwithstanding any of the foregoing provisions of this section the legislature is hereby authorized to appropriate, out of the proceeds of bonds now or hereafter sold to provide moneys for the elimination of railroad crossings at grade and incidental improvements pursuant to this section, sums not exceeding in the aggregate sixty million dollars for the construction and reconstruction of state highways and parkways. (Amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 4, 1941.)

[Sinking funds; how kept and invested; income therefrom and application thereof]

§15. The sinking funds provided for the payment of interest and the extinguishment of the principal of the debts of the state heretofore contracted shall be continued; they shall be separately kept and safely invested, and neither of them shall be appropriated or used in any manner other than for such payment and extinguishment as hereinafter provided. The comptroller shall each year appraise the securities held for investment in each of such funds at their fair market value not exceeding par. The comptroller shall then determine and certify to the legislature the amount of each of such funds and the amounts which, if thereafter annually contributed to each such fund, would, with the fund and with the accumulations thereon and upon the contributions thereto, computed at the rate of three per centum per annum, produce at the date of maturity the amount of the debt to retire which such fund was created, and the legislature shall thereupon appropriate as the contribution to each such fund for such year at least the amount thus certified.

If the income of any such fund in any year is more than a sum which, if annually added to such fund would, with the fund and its accumulations as aforesaid, retire the debt at maturity, the excess income may be applied to the interest on the debt for which the fund was created.

After any sinking fund shall equal in amount the debt for which it was created no further contribution shall be made thereto except to make good any losses ascertained at the annual appraisals above mentioned, and the income thereof shall be applied to the payment of the interest on such debt. Any excess in such income not required for the payment of interest may be applied to the general fund of the state. (Formerly §5. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 6, 2001.)

[Payment of state debts; when comptroller to pay without appropriation]

§16. The legislature shall annually provide by appropriation for the payment of the interest upon and installments of principal of all debts or refunding debts created on behalf of the state except those contracted under section 9 of this article, as the same shall fall due, and for the contribution to all of the sinking funds created by law, of the amounts annually to be contributed under the provisions of section 12, 13 or 15 of this article. If at any time the legislature shall fail to make any such appropriation, the comptroller shall set apart from the first revenues thereafter received, applicable to the general fund of the state, a sum sufficient to pay such interest, installments of principal, or contributions to such sinking fund, as the case may be, and shall so apply the moneys thus set apart. The comptroller may be required to set aside and apply such revenues as aforesaid, at the suit of any holder of such bonds.

Notwithstanding the foregoing provisions of this section, the comptroller may covenant with the purchasers of any state obligations that they shall have no further rights against the state for payment of such obligations or any interest thereon after an amount or amounts determined in accordance with the provisions of such covenant is deposited in a described fund or with a named or described agency or trustee. In such case, this section shall have no further application with respect to payment of such obligations or any interest thereon after the comptroller has complied with the prescribed conditions of such covenant. (Formerly §11. Renumbered and amended by Constitutional Convention of 1938 and approved by vote of the people November 8, 1938; further amended by vote of the people November 2, 1993.)

[State debt for expansion of state university]

§19. The legislature may authorize by law the creation of a debt or debts of the state, not exceeding in the aggregate two hundred fifty million dollars, to provide moneys for the construction, reconstruction, rehabilitation, improvement and equipment of facilities for the expansion and development of the program of higher education provided and to be provided at institutions now or hereafter comprised within the state university, for acquisition of real property therefor, and for payment of the state's share of the capital costs of locally sponsored institutions of higher education approved and regulated by the state university trustees. The provisions of this article, not inconsistent with this section, relating to the issuance of bonds for a debt or debts of the state and the maturity and payment thereof, shall apply to a state debt or debts created pursuant to this section; except that the law authorizing the contracting of such debt or debts shall take effect without submission to the people pursuant to section eleven of this article. (New. Added by vote of the people November 5, 1957.)

 

 

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