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FIERRO v. WILLIAMSPORT. (03/13/56)

March 13, 1956

FIERRO, APPELLANT,
v.
WILLIAMSPORT.



Appeal, No. 44, Jan. T., 1956, from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Lycoming County, May T., 1954, No. 38 in case of Patrick H. Fierro v. City of Williamsport. Decree affirmed.

COUNSEL

Patrick H. Fierro, appellant, in propria persona.

Charles Bidelspacher, Jr., City Solicitor, with him Charles A. Szybist and Bidelspacher & Bidelspacher, for appellee.

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

Author: Arnold

[ 384 Pa. Page 569]

OPINION BY MR. JUSTICE ARNOLD

This was a complaint in equity seeking to enjoin the City of Williamsport from enforcing its ordinance levying a tax on the privilege and transaction of engaging in the operation of mechanical or electronic phonographs (juke boxes) played by persons who inserted coins into the machines. Plaintiff appeals from the decree of the court below dismissing the complaint.

The pertinent provision of the city's ordinance reads as follows: "Section 2: (a) 'Admission' shall mean monetary charge of any character whatever, charged or paid for the privilege of engaging in amusements as hereinafter defined. (b) 'Amusement' shall mean all manner and form of entertainment within the City of Williamsport, Pa., including among others, the following: juke boxes, pinball machines, and any other form of mechanical and/or electronic device for which admission is charged or paid."

The authority for the ordinance is the so-called "tax anything" Act of 1947, P.L. 1145, as amended, 53 PS

[ 384 Pa. Page 570]

ยง 2015.1. The "tax anything" Act is similar to the Sterling Act and a similar ordinance of Philadelphia was sustained in Phonograph Operators Association v. City of Philadelphia, 54 D. & C. 83.

Obviously and literally, the word "amusement," includes juke boxes or any other form of mechanical or electronic device for which admission is charged or paid. Admittedly the ordinance, section 2(a), provides that admission shall mean a monetary charge of any character whatsoever charged for engaging in the amusement as defined. The ordinance clearly contemplates taxation of these juke boxes. The tax was not upon a "place of amusement" but upon the privilege of engaging in amusement as defined in ...


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