As a subcategory of the excess levy, a general obligation bond is backed by the taxing district's ability to levy tax.
The taxing district must receive voter approval to issue a general obligation bond. The district can levy an amount sufficient to pay principal and interest for the bonded debt.
The major difference between an excess levy and a bond is time. A bond has a longer duration than an excess levy. Taxing districts issue bonds to pay for long-term projects such as buildings, infrastructure, schools and sewer systems. Typical bond levies include:
- Construction bonds
- Transportation vehicle fund bonds
- Technology bonds
While several taxing districts have specific statutes authorizing issuance of bonds, many taxing districts fall under the general bond statute, RCW 84.52.056.
Voter-approved bond levies are not subject to the statutory limitations.
General obligation bond ballot titles must contain:
- identification of the enacting legislative body
- statement of the subject matter, not to exceed 10 words
- a concise description of the measure, not to exceed 75 words
- the maximum amount of the indebtedness to be authorized
- the maximum term any bonds may have
- a description of the purpose or purposes of the bond issue
- whether excess property taxes will be levied to pay and retire such bonds
- a question asking if the ballot measure should be approved