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DIRECTORY PUBLISHING COMPANY v. PITTSBURGH (06/17/65)

decided: June 17, 1965.

DIRECTORY PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC., APPELLANT,
v.
PITTSBURGH



Appeal from judgment of County Court of Allegheny County, No. A2163 of 1963, in case of Directory Publishing Co., Inc. v. City of Pittsburgh et al.

COUNSEL

John G. Kish, with him Brennan & Brennan, for appellant.

Justin M. Johnson, Assistant School Solicitor, with him Niles Anderson, School Solicitor, Regis C. Nairn, Assistant City Solicitor, and David W. Craig, City Solicitor, for appellee.

Ervin, P. J., Wright, Watkins, Monthomery, Jacobs, and Hoffman, JJ. (Flood, J., absent). Opinion by Wright, J.

Author: Wright

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 424]

This is an appeal by Directory Publishing Company, hereinafter referred to as Directory, from a judgment entered in the County Court of Allegheny County

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 425]

    following the dismissal of Directory's appeal from the assessment by the City of Pittsburgh of mercantile tax and license fees for the years 1948 to 1963. The pivotal issue is whether the activity in which Directory engages constitutes manufacturing.

The taxes here in question were imposed by ordinance enacted under the authority of the Act of June 25, 1947, P. L. 1145, as amended, 53 P.S. 6851 et seq., commonly known as the tax anything act, which provides that certain political subdivisions, including the City of Pittsburgh, may, in their discretion by ordinance for general revenue purposes, levy, assess, and collect taxes 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 . . . (4) to levy, assess and collect a tax on goods and articles manufactured in such political subdivision or on the by-products of manufacture, or on minerals, timber, natural resources and farm products produced in such political subdivision or on the preparation or processing thereof for use or market, or on any privilege, act or transaction related to the business of manufacturing, the production, preparation or processing of minerals, timber and natural resources, or farm products, by manufacturers, by producers and by farmers with respect to the goods, articles and products of their own manufacture, production or growth, or on any privilege, act or transaction relating to the business of processing by-products of manufacture, or on the transportation, loading, unloading or dumping or storage of such goods, articles, products or by-products".

It should be noted that the words "shall not have authority" as used in the statute constitute a limitation on the power of the municipality to tax and are not in the nature of an exemption provision. Any doubt concerning the construction of the legislation

[ 205 Pa. Super. Page 426]

    must therefore be resolved in favor of the taxpayer and against the city. See Fischer v. Pittsburgh, 383 Pa. 138, 118 A.2d 157. The only testimony in the record is that of I. Stanley Wishoski who is the president of Directory. The factual situation is set forth in the following excerpts from the opinion below:

"It is clear from the uncontradicted evidence, and we find that the Directory Publishing Company, Inc. (hereinafter called 'Directory') is a Pennsylvania corporation located and doing business within the City and School District of Pittsburgh. Directory publishes and distributes a monthly magazine by name of 'Official Travel Guide of Pittsburgh'. The magazine consists of condensed time tables of air, bus and train schedules of particular interest to residents of the Pittsburgh district. Directory accomplishes the editorial work of obtaining information, preparing copy for the printer, making lay-outs, specifying ink, paper stock and style and size of type. Directory owns no printing machinery. Directory contracts the printing of its magazine with an independent contractor, and ...


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