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ATLANTIC FREIGHT LINES v. RANKIN (05/25/53)

May 25, 1953

ATLANTIC FREIGHT LINES, INC., APPELLANT
v.
RANKIN



Appeal, No. 70, March T., 1953, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Fayette County, in Equity, No. 2077, in case of Atlantic Freight Lines, Inc. v. John W. Rankin, et al., County Commissioners of Fayette County, etc. and Lindsey McFarland, Chief Assessor of Fayette County. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Edward Dumbauld, for appellant.

Jacob E. Horewitz, with him Eustace H. Bane, Solicitor for Fayette County, for appellees.

Before Stern, C.j., Stearne, Jones, Chidsey, Musmanno and Arnold, JJ.

Author: Stearne

[ 373 Pa. Page 518]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ALLEN M. STEARNE

The question raised by this appeal is whether or not an interstate common carrier of freight by motor vehicle is entitled to exemption from local real estate taxation as a quasi-public corporation. The court below held that it was not and dismissed the complaint seeking to enjoin the county officials from levying such tax.

The chancellor made the following findings of fact, based upon stipulation of counsel: "1. Plaintiff is a Pennsylvania corporation engaged in transporting goods by motor vehicle in interstate commerce, with its principal office in this county. It operates between terminals in the states of New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia, and Maryland, under a certificate of public convenience and necessity from the Interstate Commerce Commission, by which exclusively its service, routes, rates, and charges are regulated (Part II of the Interstate Commerce Act, 49 U.S.C.A. 301, et seq., originally known as the Motor Carrier Act). It does not engage in intrastate transportation within this Commonwealth, nor has it ever applied to the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission for authority to do so.

"

[ 373 Pa. Page 5192]

. Plaintiff owns in North Union Township, in this county, a tract of 2.059 acres of land, upon which it has erected and now maintains its office and terminal buildings, repair shops, and other facilities required by it in the operation of its business, which property the Fayette County Board of Assessment and Revision of Taxes has assessed for tax purposes for the year 1951 at a valuation of $16,000.00.

"3. For the year 1951 plaintiff paid a capital stock tax and a corporate net income tax to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania."

Article IX, ยง 1 of the Pennsylvania Constitution, as amended, provides: "All taxes shall be uniform, upon the same class of subjects, within the territorial limits of the authority levying the tax, and shall be levied and collected under general laws;... the General Assembly may, by general laws, exempt from taxation public property used for public purposes, actual places of religious worship, places of burial not used or held for private or corporate profit, institutions of purely public charity, and real ...


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