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CAMBRIA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT v. CAMBRIA COUNTY LEGION RECREATION ASSOCIATION (06/12/63)

June 12, 1963

CAMBRIA TOWNSHIP SCHOOL DISTRICT
v.
CAMBRIA COUNTY LEGION RECREATION ASSOCIATION, APPELLANT.



Appeal, No. 5, April T., 1963, from judgment of Court of Common Pleas of Combria County, Sept. T., 1960, No. 1100, in case of School District of Cambria Township v. Cambria County Legion Recreation Association. Order affirmed.

COUNSEL

Paul D. Larimer, with him Englehart, Larimer & Englehart, for appellant.

Edward F. Peduzzi, with him Myers, Taylor & Peduzzi, for appellee.

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

Author: Ervin

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 165]

OPINION BY ERVIN, J.

The sole issue in this appeal is whether a school district may impose a tax on general admissions to a county fair.

On August 24, 1960 the School District of Cambria Township (hereinafter called "School District"), filed a complaint in mandamus to compel the defendant, Cambria County Legion Recreation Association (hereinafter called "Association"), to charge and collect a tax of 10 per centum on each and every admission fee that is charged by the Association to the general public for admission to the fairgrounds. The Association filed its answer and new matter and the plaintiff filed a reply to the new matter. Inasmuch as the county fair had already been held, the plaintiff and the defendant filed a stipulation as to the facts and agreed that the proceeding be considered in the nature of a proceeding for declaratory judgment. The court below decreed the tax to be valid. The Association appealed.

The Association argues that the School District may only tax admissions to amusements, and since the fair is an agricultural and horticultural as well as an industrial exhibition, it is not an amusement and, therefore, a tax on admissions to its fairgrounds is invalid. Municipalities and school districts only have the power to enact tax ordinances or resolutions which are authorized by an act of the legislature: Allentown School District Mercantile Tax Case, 370 Pa. 161, 171, 87 A.2d 480; Fischer v. Pittsburgh, 178 Pa. Superior Ct. 16, 112 A.2d 814, affirmed 383 Pa. 138, 118 A.2d 157. The power to levy taxes must be strictly construed and

[ 201 Pa. Super. Page 166]

    in case of a reasonable doubt, the construction should be against the taxing body: Tax Review Board v. Elster & Prager, 406 Pa. 543, 178 A.2d 611; Jones v. Pittsburgh, 176 Pa. Superior Ct. 154, 106 A.2d 892.

The Statutory Construction Act, 46 PS § 558, provides: "All provisions of a law of the classes hereafter enumerated shall be strictly construed: ... (3) Provisions imposing taxes;...."

The power of the School District to levy this tax must be found in the following language of the Act of June 25, 1947, P.L.0 1145, AS AMENDED, 53 @PS § 6851: "The duly constituted authorities of... school districts of the third class... may, in their discretion, by... resolution, for general revenue purposes, levy, assess and collect or provide for the levying, assessment and collection of such taxes as they shall determine... on persons, transactions, occupations, privileges, subjects and personal property within the limits of such political subdivisions, except that such local authorities shall not have authority by virtue of this act (1) to levy, assess and collect or provide for the levying, assessment and collection of any tax... on a privilege, transaction, subject, occupation or personal property which is now or does hereafter become subject to a State tax or ...


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