Laws, Regulations & Annotations

Property Taxes Law Guide – Revision 2017

California Constitutional Provisions

ARTICLE XI Local Government

Section 11

Sec. 11. Legislature may not delegate power of municipality to tax. (a) The Legislature may not delegate to a private person or body power to make, control, appropriate, supervise or interfere with county or municipal corporation improvements, money, or property, or to levy taxes or assessments, or perform municipal functions.

(b) The Legislature may, however, provide for the deposit of public moneys in any bank in this State or in any savings and loan association in this State or any credit union in this State or in any federally insured industrial loan company in this State and for payment of interest, principal and redemption premiums of public bonds and other evidence of public indebtedness by banks within or without this State. It may also provide for investment of public moneys in securities and the registration of bonds and other evidences of indebtedness by private persons or bodies, within or without this State, acting as trustees or fiscal agents.

History.—New section added by amendment adopted 1970 which also repealed Section 13 of Article XI containing similar provisions. The amendment of November 5, 1974 added the subdivision letters and subdivision (b). The amendment of June 8, 1976, added "or in any savings and loan association in this state" after "state" in the first sentence of subdivision (b). The amendment of November 8, 1988, added "or any credit union in this State or in any federally insured industrial loan company in this State" after "savings and loan association in this State" in the first sentence of subdivision (b).

Delegation of taxing power.—Boards of directors of metropolitan water districts are in the same sense governing officials thereof as are the city councils or boards of trustees of such other governmental agencies as have heretofore been invested with powers and duties of a quasi-municipal character. Therefore, it cannot be said that the Metropolitan Water District Act (Stats. 1927, p. 694) is unconstitutional as delegating the power of municipal taxation to a special commission or board. City of Pasadena v. Chamberlain, 204 Cal. 653.

This section is a restraint merely upon the Legislature and an appropriation by a county to a city for street improvements is not within its prohibition. City of Oakland v. Garrison, 194 Cal. 298.

The object of this section was to emancipate municipal governments from the authority formerly exercised over them by the Legislature. In re Pfahler, 150 Cal. 71.

For other cases upholding a delegation of power as not being in violation of this section see Henshaw v. Foster, 176 Cal. 507 (upholding an act, Stats. 1915, p. 921, enabling the inhabitants of a region, including cities, to form an irrigation district and to elect their own taxing board to raise funds for district purposes); Byington v. Sacramento Valley etc. Canal Co., 170 Cal. 124 (upholding the Irrigation District Act of 1901, Stats. 1901, p. 815, permitting the directors of an irrigation district to lease its system of canals and works); Banaz v. Smith, 133 Cal. 102; and City of Los Angeles v. Teed, 112 Cal. 319.

Legislative power is not delegated under the Wright Act through the enactment of conditions upon the performance of which an irrigation district is organized within boundaries fixed by a board of supervisors after a hearing and upon a vote of electors. Fallbrook Irrigation District v. Bradley, 164 U.S. 112.

The Metropolitan Water District Act (Stats. 1927, p. 694) does not violate this section by permitting the appointive board of directors of the district to levy taxes. In re Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, 215 Cal. 582.

The provisions of Section 3719 of the Political Code, making the repayment of tax anticipation notes a first lien against taxes, revenue and other income of the county collected during the fiscal year, is not invalid as constituting an attempted delegation of power by the Legislature to the purchaser of notes to control and interfere with county money in violation of this section. Regardless of the lien provision, the remedy would be mandamus to the proper officers, to compel payment of the notes out of the charged funds. Los Angeles County v. Legg, 5 Cal.2d 349.

Revenue and Taxation Code Section 5096, as construed to authorize the county to appear and defend suits for refund of taxes in behalf of other entities whose taxing functions have been consolidated with those of the county, does not violate this section. Los Angeles County v. Superior Court, 17 Cal.2d 707.

Authorization by the Legislature to an irrigation district to annex or include additional land in the district is not unconstitutional under this section even though one incidental result of such annexation or inclusion may be the exemption of the additional land from taxation. County of Mariposa v. Merced Irrigation District, 32 Cal.2d 467; County of Tuolumne v. Oakdale Irrigation District, 32 Cal.2d 891; Calaveras County v. Oakdale Irrigation District, 32 Cal.2d 890; Vista Irrigation District v. Board of Supervisors of San Diego County, 32 Cal.2d 477.

Districts.—On the subject of districts as governmental agencies, see Stuckenbruck v. Board of Supervisors, 193 Cal. 506; Wores v. Imperial Irrigation District, 193 Cal. 609; Henshaw v. Foster, 176 Cal. 507; People v. Sacramento Drainage District, 155 Cal. 373; Argyle Dredging Co. v. Chambers, 40 Cal.App. 332.