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sion, regulation, and conduct, in in the light they afford. Among such manner as it may determine, these aids is a contemplation of the of the affairs of irrigation districts, object to be accomplished or the reclamation districts, or drainage . mischief designed to be remedied or districts, organized or existing un guarded against by the clause in der any law of this state.”
which the ambiguity is met with.” Article 11, § 13), was amended to Cooley, Const. Lim. p. 100. (Italics include "irrigation district" in the the author's.) phrase "county, city and county, In view of the general policy of city, town, municipality, or other the law, and the great necessity on public corporation," so that the which that policy rests, that propphrase now reads: "Any county, erty held by public corporations city and county, city, town, munici. shall not be taxed by the state, much pality, irrigation district, or other less by other public corporations, public corporation,” etc., thus tend and the plain fact that this particuing to impress upon the voter that lar Amendment of the Constitution the term "municipality" did not in was manifestly inspired by the declude an “irrigation district."
sires of three counties to prevent At the same election, art. 11, § 6, Los Angeles and San Francisco was amended by the people. This from escaping taxation on property section restricts the power of the owned by them, situated outside legislature, in the formation of mu their limits, for the carrying on of nicipal corporations, to providing public water systems, together with by general law for their forma the further fact that the Constitution, and prohibits the formation of tion itself, in other parts thereof, such corporations by special statute. describes municipal corporations, That section uses the term "munici and provides for their creation in pal corporation,” as synonymous such a way that it cannot be doubted with "cities and towns."
that none other than the ordinary tion reads, in part, as follows: municipal corporations were re“Sec. 6. Corporations for munici ferred to, it is clear that irrigation pal purposes shall not be created by districts were not made taxable by special laws; but the legislature the exception contained in the shall, by general laws, provide for Amendment in question. the incorporation, organization, and It should be stated that it is conclassification, in proportion to popu ceded that irrigation districts were lation, of cities and towns.
not taxable before the Amendment If it were intended by the legis of 1914, and are not now, unless lature and by the people to use the such taxation is authorized by the term “municipal corporation” with Amendment, but it is contended its broadest possible meaning in art. that they then were exempt because 13, § 1, supra, it is reasonable to of the special exemption of the suppose that language similar to property of "municipal corporathat contained in art. 11, § 131, tions" contained in such section, supra, would have been employed, and that such irrigation districts expressly including, as does the lat are now taxable under the special ter section, the term "irrigation exception in the Amendment, audistricts.”
thorizing the taxation of "municiOne of the important rules of pal corporations.” To the contrary, constitutional. construction is thus such exemption existed because of stated by Mr. Cooley: "If
the express exemption of the propa difficulty really exists, which an erty of "the state," and contained examination of every part of the in in that section because of the implistrument does not enable us to re cations in favor of the exemption of move, there are certain extrinsic public property. See Reclamation aids which may be resorted to, and Dist. V. Sacramento County, 134 which are more or less satisfactory Cal. 477, 66 Pac. 668, and cases
198 Pac, 1060.) therein cited for a discussion of little or no assistance in reaching a the principle applicable. See also conclusion on the question involved Webster v. University of California, here. 163 Cal. 705, 126 Pac. 974, and cases Judgment affirmed. cited. Reference may also be made
Angellotti, Ch. J., and Wilbur, to Central Irrig. Dist. v. De Lappe, Shaw, Olney, Lennon, and Lawlor, 79 Cal. 351, 21 Pac. 825, and Lind- JJ., concur.
, say-Strathmore Irrig. Dist. v. Tulare County, 182 Cal. 315, 187 Pac. Sloane, J., dissenting: 1056, for a discussion of the simi
I dissent. The reasoning of the larity of the organization of rec
majority opinion that this constitulamation and irrigation districts.
tional provision should be strictly The language quoted in the dis
interpreted against the tax in quessenting opinion from Southern Pac.
tion, because all intendments of the Co. v. Levee Dist. 172 Cal. 345, 156
law are against the taxation of pubPac. 502, read in the light of the lic property, cannot apply in this inexpress statement in the opinion
stance, because here the provision that such districts are not "munici
involved is avowedly dealing with
the taxation of public property. pal corporations,” would indicate that the court considered that the
Section 1 of article 13 expressly
defines what classes of public propproperty of the district was "state
erty shall be exempt from taxation. property," rather than property of a "municipal corporation." The
It discloses, first, that “all property same view is taken in People ex rel.
in the state except as otherwise in
this Constitution provided, not exSels v. Reclamation Dist. 117 Cal. 114, 48 Pac. 1016, where it is said:
empt under the laws of the United "Certainly, these districts were not
States, shall be taxed.” Standing municipal corporations as that term
alone, under the rule cited, this
might not include public property, is used in the Constitution." “If these districts can be said to be cor
exempt under the general rule of porations at all, I think they are
public policy, but the section pro
ceeds with a proviso which shows properly called public corporations
that it is dealing with the subject of for municipal purposes.
taxation as applied to both public phrase means no more than that
and private property. they are state organizations for
The proviso is that various enustate purposes. They certainly are
merated classes of property, includnot municipal corporations in the
ing “such as may belong to the strict sense.”
United States, this state, or to any Similarly, in Re Madera Irrig. county, city and county, or municDist. Bonds, 92 Cal. 296, 322, 14 ipal corporation within this state, L.R.A. 755, 27 Am. St. Rep. 106, 28 shall be exempt from taxation." Pac. 278, it was said: "The prop It is entirely clear that unless the erty held by the corporation is in property of an irrigation district is trust for the public, and subject to either the property of the state or of the control of the state."
a municipal corporation it is not However, the reasons presented exempt from taxation at all. When for the conclusion reached in South the legislature or Constitution has ern Pac. Co. v. Levee Dist. supra, made express provision for the exwere so numerous and cogent that emption of certain classes of public the differentiation between the vari property, the inference is clear that ous forms of taxing agencies was it did not intend that other classes of little, if any, weight in arriving should be exempt. 26 R. C. L. p. at the conclusion that it was in 291; Chicago Sanitary Dist. v. Martended by the Amendment to pro tin, 173 Ill. 243, 64 Am. St. Rep. hibit all such agencies from exercis 110, 50 N. E. 201; Gate City Guard ing the taxing power over railroad V. Atlanta, 113 Ga. 883, 54 L.R.A. corporations, that the decision is of 806, 39 S. E. 394. But under our
Constitution the matter is made con vested in the district, it could not be clusive by the direction that all held to be property "belonging to property not so enumerated shall the state.” be taxed.
People ex rel. Pierce v. Morrill, This court was confronted with 26 Cal. 336, defines "lands belongsuch an alternative in the case of ing to the state” as those “(1) Reclamation Dist. v. Sacramento which it holds by virtue of grants County, 134 Cal. 477, 66 Pac. 668. from the United States; (2) those As stated in the opinion in that which it owns by reason of its case: “The sole question presented sovereignty.” is whether property acquired by a In either event, the term implies reclamation district, as necessary ownership, and not mere authority and indispensable to the execution and control over. In view of the of its objects, is subject to taxation fact that the law of California for state and county purposes." governing irrigation districts ex
Exemption was claimed for this pressly provides that “the legal title property by the district under 1 to all property acquired under the of art. 13 of the Constitution as it provisions of this act shall immediread prior to the Amendment of ately and by operation of law vest 1914, exempting all property which in such irrigation district,” it would belongs to "this state, or to any be an elastic use of terms to hold county or municipal corporation that the interest of the state in such within this state.” Reviewing the lands amounts to such ownership as authorities on the question as to to justify holding such property to whether or not a reclamation dis belong to the state. trict was a municipal corporation, As previously pointed out, the without directly passing upon this only remaining alternative which point, the court disposes of the case will permit of any exemption of irriupon another theory. It says: “It gation district property at all is to is not necessary to hold this prop include such district, for the purerty, thus acquired, to be the prop poses of this section, as a "municierty of a municipal corporation, in pal corporation.” order to make it exempt from taxa It, of course, follows that, if the tion. It would be sufficient to hold general exemption clause of $ 1, art. that it is public property of the 13, of the Constitution, includes irristate, within the meaning of the gation districts under the classificaConstitution."
tion of "municipal corporations," It requires great latitude of con the exception from such exemption struction to hold the property of a of "lands and the improvements reclamation district as property thereon located outside the county, “belonging to the state," but, con city and county, or municipal corsidering the nature of such district poration, owning the same,” must organization, with its limited cor also apply to such irrigation disporate powers under the law as it tricts, for the term "municipal corexisted at the time covered by this porations” is obviously used in the decision, it was perhaps a more log same sense in both connections. ical conclusion than to class it as a But the most persuasive reason for municipal corporation.
classifying an irrigation district as The supreme court of Illinois, in a municipal corporation, under this determining the liability of a drain constitutional provision, is that any age district of the city of Chicago other construction, in my opinion, to taxation upon property it owned defeats the very apparent purpose outside the corporate limits of the of the Amendment. city under analogous constitutional It is doubtless true, as set forth provisions (Chicago Sanitary Dist. in the argument presented to the v. Martin, supra), held that, as the voters on the submission of this legal title to the property was Amendment that the inducing
(- Cal. —, 198 Pac. 1060.) cause of the Amendment was the rations" here contended for. It acquisition of large real-estate in is common knowledge that in poputerests in the counties of Tuolumne, lar usage the term “municipal corMono, and Inyo, for reservoir pur- poration” is understood as applying poses, by the distant cities of Los to all departments of state organiAngeles and San Francisco. These zation exercising public functions, corporations happened to be gov and the same general use of the ernmental municipalities, but that term is common in judicial decisions was not the circumstance which ap and with law text-writers. pealed to the voters of these coun In 19 R. C. L. p. 691, it is said ties and others likely to be invaded that “municipal,” in its primary by public power and water purvey sense, means “pertaining to a town ors.
or city or to its local government,' The real purpose was to prevent
but it also declares that the word abuses threatened and likely to re "municipal" has two meanings, one cur from permitting private lands of which is “ pertaining to the intersubject to taxation in one jurisdic nal government of a state or nation,' tion to be taken over for public uses and in that sense every corporation by other communities, and, by de formed for governmental purposes priving the territory in which the is a municipal corporation;" and lands are situated of the revenue further, at page 696, it is said: from this taxation, thus throw part “The legislature frequently organof the burden of such public use up izes the people of a certain territory on territory not benefited by it. into a district having certain limWhat possible reason or justifica- ited powers for the carrying out tion could there be for protecting of some particular public purpose. these outside jurisdictions from the Familiar examples are school disincursions of towns and cities in tricts,
irrigation districts, search of water storage and dis
but it has tribution, and leaving them exposed been held that such a district is a to precisely the same invasion by 'corporation for municipal purextensive irrigation districts out- poses. side their territory? The gist of Such district organizations are the matter clearly appears in the very commonly referred to in the part of the argument for this consti California decisions as public cortutional Amendment which says: porations for municipal purposes, "Uncertainty on this matter should or quasi municipal corporations. be removed by a legal assurance Merchants Nat. Bank v. Escondido that, while natural resources within Irrig. Dist. 144 Cal. 329, 77 Pac. one county may be directly used for 937; People ex rel. Sels v. Reclamathe upbuilding of another, lands or tion Dist. 117 Cal. 120, 48 Pac. 1016; other property already upon the in Central Irrig. Dist. v. De Lappe, 79 vaded county's tax roll shall con Cal. 351, 21 Pac. 825; Turlock Irrig. tinue to bear its share of maintain Dist. v. Williams, 76 Cal. 366, 18 ing the county government.”
Pac. 379; Hughes v. Ewing, 93 Cal. The direct object of the Amend- 414, 28 Pac. 1067; Perry v. Otay Ir. ment was to protect and conserve rig. Dist. 127 Cal. 565, 60 Pac. 40; the revenues of the invaded terri. Jenison v. Redfield, 149 Cal. 500, 87 tory, and with that object in view Pac. 62; Fogg v. Perris Irrig. Dist. it can make no difference whether 154 Cal. 209, 97 Pac. 316; Healey v. the public use acquired is by a city Anglo-Californian Bank, 5 Cal. App. or county, or some other public cor 278, 90 Pac. 54; Dean v. Davis, 51 poration exercising municipal func Cal. 409. tions.
The same classification is mainNo violence is done to the rules of tained in the Federal courts in the construction under the interpreta consideration of such districts untion of the term "municipal corpo der the laws of California. Fall
brook Irrig. Dist. v. Bradley, 164 Amendment, on the ground that it U. S. 174, 41 L. ed. 369, 17 Sup. Ct. is a district, and not a municipality, Rep. 56; Tulare Irrig. Dist. v. and that the Amendment does not Shepard, 185 U. S. 1, 46 L. ed. 773, exempt from district taxation. 22 Sup. Ct. Rep. 531; Herring v. This court, in the case cited, while Modesto Irrig. Dist. (C. C.) 95 Fed. holding directly that such levee dis705.
trict was not a municipal corporaIn the construction of words used tion, decided, upon an exhaustive in a constitution, a more general consideration of the purposes of the and inclusive definition is often rec section and the obvious intent of the ognized than in the more technical constitutional Amendment, that disprovisions of a statute or a con trict taxes of this nature were intract. A constitution is the formu cluded under the term “municipal,” lation of broad general rules of and says: “It would appear to be governmental policy, submitted to beyond peradventure,
peradventure, therefore, the popular will and understanding that when the Constitution declared for their adoption.
that the state taxes 'shall be in lieu “Where a word having a technical of all other taxes, state, county, and as well as a popular meaning is municipal,' it used the words 'state, used in a constitution,
the county, and municipal,' as inclusive courts will accord to it its popular and descriptive, and not as designed signification.” Weill v. Kenfield, 54 to exempt districts from its operaCal. 111; Miller v. Dunn, 72 Cal. tion.” 462, 465, 1 Am. St. Rep. 67, 14 Pac. An irrigation district probably 27; Towle v. Matheus, 130 Cal. 574, comes nearer than any other of the 577, 62 Pac. 1064; San Pedro, L. subordinate public corporations of A. & S. L. R. Co. v. Hamilton, 161 the state to meeting the technical Cal. 610, 617, 37 L.R.A.(N.S.) 686, requirements defining a municipal 119 Pac. 1077; Perrin v. Miller, 35 corporation. It has its own direcCal. App. 129, 132, 169 Pac. 426. tors and officers, conducts its own
This rule of liberal construction elections, can sue and be sued in its appears to have been applied by this
corporate name, issues bonds, levies, court in Southern P. Co. v. Levee collects, and disburses its own reveDist. 172 Cal. 345, 156 Pac. 502, nues, acquires and holds property, construing the use of the word both real and personal, in its own "municipal” in an Amendment to
name, and in the management of its the state Constitution in a way internal affairs is entirely independwhich we think has a marked bear ent of the county and state, aside ing on this case, In the Amend from the control of general laws. ment of the Constitution by adop While the courts have frequently tion of the new § 14, art. 13, for drawn the line between public corthe purpose of changing the system porations of a
a quasi municipal of taxation of corporations, it was character and those performing declared that the system of taxation strictly municipal functions, it has provided should "be in lieu of all
usually been for the purpose of deother taxes and licenses, state, coun fining limitations upon the political ty, and municipal.” Levee district powers of these lesser state agenNo. 1 of Sutter county, being a cies; but no reason seems to exist levee district organized under the
the distinction should be act of the legislature for the crea
pushed so far in this case as to extion of such districts, undertook to
clude irrigation districts from the levy a tax upon property of the
operation of the constitutional Southern Pacific Company within
Amendment under discussion. such district, and attempted to sustain the validity of such tax against Petition for rehearing denied the plea of this constitutional July 15, 1921.