(Sec. 14. [Aid to private enterprise; veterans' scholarship program; student loans; job opportunities.]
Neither the state nor any county, school district or municipality, except as otherwise provided in this constitution, shall directly or indirectly lend or pledge its credit or make any donation to or in aid of any person, association or public or private corporation or in aid of any private enterprise for the construction of any railroad; provided:
A. nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the state or any county or municipality from making provision for the care and maintenance of sick and indigent persons;
B. nothing in this section shall prohibit the state from establishing a veterans' scholarship program for Vietnam conflict veterans who are post-secondary students at educational institutions under the exclusive control of the state by exempting such veterans from the payment of tuition. For the purposes of this subsection, a "Vietnam conflict veteran" is any person who has been honorably discharged from the armed forces of the United States, who was a resident of New Mexico at the original time of entry into the armed forces from New Mexico and who has been awarded a Vietnam campaign medal for service in the armed forces of this country in Vietnam during the period from August 5, 1964 to the official termination date of the Vietnam conflict as designated by executive order of the president of the United States;
C. the state may also establish by law a program of loans to students of the healing arts, as defined by law, for residents of the state who, in return for the payment of educational expenses, contract with the state to practice their profession for a period of years after graduation within areas of the state designated by law; and
D. nothing in this section shall be construed to prohibit the state or a county or municipality from creating new job opportunities by providing land, buildings or infrastructure for facilities to support new or expanding businesses if this assistance is granted pursuant to general implementing legislation that is approved by a majority vote of those elected to each house of the legislature. The implementing legislation shall include adequate safeguards to protect public money or other resources used for the purposes authorized in this subsection. The implementing legislation shall further provide that:
(1) each specific county or municipal project providing assistance pursuant to this subsection need not be approved by the legislature but shall be approved by the county or municipality pursuant to procedures provided in the implementing legislation; and
(2) each specific state project providing assistance pursuant to this subsection shall be approved by law. (As amended November 1, 1971, November 5, 1974, and November 8, 1994.)
Relevant AG opinions:
Providing dormitory and meals to Boy Scouts. - The Department of Public Safety cannot provide use of its dormitory and meals to a Boy Scouts of America troop at a substantially reduced cost. 1990 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 90-13.
No contributions to American Legion memorial allowed. - County commissioners may not contribute $500 to an American Legion war memorial which is erected upon the county courthouse grounds. 1943-44 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 4422.
Nor to community chest. - It is not legal for the state fair to donate the proceeds, in excess of costs, from horse races to the community chest. 1955-56 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 6279.
Nor to chamber of commerce. - A city cannot make donations to the chamber of commerce and include such contributions in the city budget. 1943-44 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 4368.
As well as contributions to scouts or salvation army. - Municipality may not contribute or spend any money of fund to or for the girl scouts, boy scouts or the salvation army if the contribution is to those organizations in their private capacities. 1955-56 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 6253.
Even though their efforts come within spirit of statute. - Such groups as the 4-H, boy scouts and girl scouts conduct juvenile recreation programs that come within the spirit of 7-12-15 NMSA 1978. But the framers of the constitution have clearly provided that public funds shall not be donated to private persons or associations, and it is the court's opinion that the juvenile recreation fund cannot be expended by, or on behalf of, a 4-H club. 1961-62 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 61-2.
Yet municipality may not fund specially created nonprofit corporation. - City or county may not appropriate public funds for economic development to be used by nonprofit corporation formed for this purpose. 1967 Op. Att'y Gen. No. 67-29.