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PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION v. FULTON COUNTY. (06/15/61)

June 15, 1961

PENNSYLVANIA TURNPIKE COMMISSION, APPELLANT,
v.
FULTON COUNTY.



Appeal, No. 35, March T., 1961, from order of Court of Common Pleas of Fulton County, Miscellaneous Common Pleas Docket No. 6, in case of Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission v. County of Fulton. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Henry E. Harner, Counsel, with him John L. Sweezy, Assistant Counsel, for Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission, appellant.

George S. Black, with him Merrill W. Kerlin, and Black and Davison, for appellee.

Before Ervin, Wright, Woodside, Watkins, Montgomery, and Flood, JJ. (rhodes, P.j., absent).

Author: Montgomery

[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 518]

OPINION BY MONTGOMERY, J.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission has taken this appeal from the action of the court below dismissing its appeal from the assessment of real estate taxes.

On March 10, 1959, the Fulton County Board of Tax Revision and Assessment assessed for local taxation for the year 1959, certain parcels of land owned by the commission in Taylor and Dublin Townships on the basis that such lands were not being used for turnpike purposes. From this assessment the commission filed an appeal with the board and on April 30, 1959, the appeal was dismissed. The commission then filed a petition in the court below in the nature of an

[ 195 Pa. Super. Page 519]

    appeal from the order of the Fulton County Board of Tax Revision and Assessments. At the hearing on this appeal, it was established that ten parcels of land with a total acreage of 879.55, which had been assessed by the County of Fulton at a valuation of $11,840.00, were all located beyond the turnpike right-of-way fence; that none of the property in question was presently used for turnpike purposes although acquired at the time of construction of the original turnpike at or about 1940; that the said lands were not used for interchanges, restaurants, service station facilities, maintenance buildings or other related turnpike operations and that, although certain parcels were considered for possible uses in the future, the Turnpike Commission had no present plans to use the lands in connection with the Pennsylvania Turnpike. On November 8, 1960, the court below dismissed the appeal.

On this appeal as well as in the court below the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission contends that (1) lands of the commission outside the 200-foot right-of-way and not used for road, interchanges or other related turnpike operations are not subject to assessment and payment of taxes, and (2) that the assessments imposed by the County of Fulton are unfair and unreasonable. The second reason has been abandoned and will not be discussed in this opinion.

It is generally true that all property not clearly exempt from taxation and within the purview of taxing statues is subject to tax. Article IX, section 1 of the Constitution of Pennsylvania provides that "the General Assembly may, by general laws, exempt from taxation public property used for public purposes. ..." It is also clear that a municipality cannot tax State-owned property unless it can point to a statute clearly authorizing the imposition of such tax. The Act ...


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