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Taxation and Finance. 1. Taxation shall be equal and uniform throughout the State, and all property, both real and personal, shall be taxed in proportion to its value, to be ascertained as directed by law. No one species of property from which a tax may be collected, shall be taxed higher than any other species of property of equal value; but property used for educational, literary, scientific, religious or charitable purposes; all cemeteries and public property may, by law, be exempted from taxation. The Legislature shall have power to tax, by uniform and equal laws, all privileges and franchises of persons and corporations.
2. The Legislature shall levy an annual capitation tax of one dollar upon each male inhabitant of the State who has attained the age of twenty-one years, which shall be annually appropriated to the support of free schools. Persons afflicted with bodily infirmity may be exempt from this tax.
3. No money shall be drawn from the treasury but in pursuance of an appropriation made by law, and on a warrant issued thereon by the Auditor; nor shall any money or fund be taken for any other purpose than that for which it has been or may be appropriated or provided. A complete and detailed statement of the receipts and expenditures of the public moneys, shall be published annually,
4. No debt shall be contracted by this State, except to meet casual deficits in the revenue, to redeem a previous liability of the State, to suppress insurrection, repel invasion or defend the State in time of war; but the payment of any liability other than that for the ordinary expenses of the State, shall be equally distributed over a period of at least twenty years.
5. The power of taxation of the Legislature shall extend to provisions for the payment of the State debt, and interest thereon, the support of free schools, and the payment of the annual estimated expenses of the State; but whenever any deficiency in the revenue shall exist in any year, it shall, at the regular session thereof held next after the deficiency occurs, levy a tax for the ensuing year, sufficient, with the other sources of income, to meet such deficiency, as well as the estimated expenses of such year.
6. The credit of the State shall not be granted to, or in aid of any county, city, township, corporation or person; nor shall the State ever assume, or become responsible for the debts or liabilities of any county, city, township, corporation or person; nor shall the State ever hereafter become a joint owner, or stockholder, in any company or association in this State or elsewhere, formed for any purpose whatever.
7. County authorities shall never assess taxes, in any one year, the aggregate of which shall exceed ninety-five cents per one hundred dollars valuation, except for the support of free schools; payment of indebtedness existing at the time of the adoption of this Constitution; and for the payment of any indebtedness, with the interest thereon, created under the succeeding section, unless such assessment, with all questions involving the increase of such aggregate, shall have been submitted to the vote of the people of the county, and have received threefifths of all the votes cast for and against it.
8. No county, city, school district, or municipal corporation, except in cases where such corporations have already authorized their bonds to be issued, shall hereafter be allowed to become indebted, in any manner, or for any purpose, to an amount, including existing indebtedness, in the aggregate exceeding five per centum on the value of the taxable property therein to be ascertained by the last assessment for State and county taxes, previous to the incurring of such indebtedness; nor with out, at the same time, providing for the collection of a direct annual tax, sufficient to pay, annually, the interest on such debt, and the principal thereof, within, and not exceeding thirty-four years: Provided, That no debt shall be contracted under this section, unless all questions connected with the same, shall have been first submitted to a vote of the people, and have received three-fifths of all the votes cast for and against the same.
9. The Legislature may, by law, authorize the corporate authorities of cities, towns and villages, for corporate purposes, to assess and collect taxes; but such taxes shall be uniform, with respect to persons and property within the jurisdiction of the authority imposing the same.
Corporations. 1. The Legislature shall provide for the organization of all corporations hereafter to be created, by general laws, uniform as to the class to which they relate; but no corporation shall be created by special law: Provided, That nothing in this section contained, shall prevent the Legislature from providing by special laws for the connection, by canal, of the waters of the Chesapeake with the Ohio river by line of the James river, Greenbrier, New river and Great Kanawha.
2. The stockholders of all corporations and joint stock companies, except banks and banking institutions, created by laws of this State, shall be liable for the indebtedness of such corporations to the amount of their stock subscribed and unpaid, and no more.
3. All existing charters or grants of special or exclusive privileges under which organization shall not have taken place, or which shall not have been in operation within two years from the time this Constitution takes effect, shall thereafter have no validity of effect whatever : Provided, That nothing herein shall prevent the execution of any bona fide contract heretofore lawfully made in relation to any existing charter or grant in this State.
4. The Legislature shall provide by law that in all elections for directors or managers of incorporated companies, every stock. holder shall have the right to vote, in person or by proxy, for the number of shares of stock owned by him, for as many persons as there are directors or managers to be elected, or to cumulate said shares and give one candidate as many votes as the number of directors multiplied by the number of his shares of stock, shall equal, or to distribute them on the same principle among as many candidates as he shall think fit: And such directors or managers shall not be elected in any other manner.
5. No law shall be passed by the Legislature, granting the right to construct and operate a street railroad within any city, town or incorporated village, without requiring the consent of the local authorities having the control of the street or highway, proposed to be occupied by such street railroad.
Banks. 6. The Legislature may provide, by a general banking law, for the creation and organization of banks of issue or circulation, but the stockholders of any bank hereafter authorized by the laws of this State, whether of issue, deposit or discount, shall be personally liable to the creditors thereof, over and above the amount of stock held by them respectively to an amount equal to their respective shares so held, for all its liabilities accruing while they are such stockholders.
Railroads. 7. Every railroad corporation organized or doing business in this State shall annually, by their proper officers, make a report under oath, to the auditor of public accounts of this State, or some officer to be designated by law, setting forth the condition of their affairs, the operations of the year, and such other matters relating to their respective railroads as may be prescribed by law. The Legislature shall pass laws enforcing by suitable penalties the provisions of this section.
8. The rolling stock and all other moveable property belonging to any railroad company or corporation in this State shall be considered personal property and shall be liable to execution and sale in the same manner as the personal property of individuals; and the Legislature shall pass no law exempting any such property from execution and sale.
9. Railroads heretofore constructed, or that may hereafter be constructed in this State, are hereby declared public highways and shall be free to all persons for the transportation of their persons and property thereon, under such regulations as shall be prescribed by law; and the Legislature shall, from time to time, pass laws, applicable to all railroad corporations in the State, establishing reasonable maximum rates of charges for the transportation of passengers and freights, and providing for the correction of abuses, the prevention of unjust discriminations between through and local or way freight and passenger tariffs, and for the protection of the just rights of the public, and shall enforce such laws by adequate penalties.
10. The Legislature shall, in the law regulating railway companies, require railroads running through, or within a half mile of a town or village, containing three hundred or more inhabitants, to establish stations for the accommodation of trade and travel of said town or village.
11. No railroad corporation shall consolidate its stock, property or franchise with any other railroad owning a parallel or competing line, or obtain the possession or control of such parallel or competing line, by lease or other contract, without the permission of the Legislature.
12. The exercise of the power and the right of eminent domain shall never be so construed or abridged as to prevent the taking, by the Legislature, of the property and franchises of incorporated companies already organized, and subjecting them to the public use, the same as of individuals.
Education. 1. The Legislature shall provide, by general law, for a thorough and efficient system of free schools.
2. The State Superintendent of Free Schools shall have a general supervision of free schools, and perform such other duties in relation thereto as may be prescribed by law. If in the performance of any such duty imposed upon him by the Legislature he shall incur any expenses, he shall be reimbursed therefor: Provided, The amount does not exceed five hundred dollars in any one year.
3. The Legislature may provide for county superintendents and such other officers as may be necessary to carry out the objects of this article and define their duties, powers and compensation.
4. The existing permanent and invested school fund, and all money accruing to this State from forfeited, delinquent, waste and unappropriated lands; and from lands heretofore sold for taxes and purchased by the State of Virginia, if hereafter redeemed or sold to others than this State; all grants, devises or bequests that may be made to this State for the purposes of education or where the purposes of such grants, devises or bequests are not specified; this State's just share of the literary fund of Virginia, whether paid over or otherwise liquidated; and any sums of money, stocks or property which this State shall have the right to claim from the State of Virginia for educational