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LYNCH v. OWEN J. ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT (07/01/68)

decided: July 1, 1968.

LYNCH
v.
OWEN J. ROBERTS SCHOOL DISTRICT, APPELLANT



Appeals from decree of Court of Common Pleas of Chester County, Nos. 1870, 1887 and 1893 of 1967, in cases of E. Raymond Lynch v. Owen J. Roberts School District; Robert Anwyl v. Owen J. Roberts School District and Marita Dunn, tax collector; and William E. Parke and Helen Wade Parke v. Same.

COUNSEL

Fred T. Cadmus, III, with him John E. Good and Miles Warner, for appellants.

Arthur A. Moorshead, with him Moorshead & Niccolo, for appellee.

Lawrence Sager, for appellee.

A. Thomas Parke, III, for appellees.

Musmanno, Jones, Cohen, Eagen, O'Brien and Roberts, JJ. Opinion by Mr. Justice Roberts. Mr. Chief Justice Bell took no part in the consideration or decision of this case. Concurring Opinion by Mr. Justice Jones. Dissenting Opinion by Mr. Justice Cohen.

Author: Roberts

[ 430 Pa. Page 463]

These three appeals, consolidated by the court below, arise from three complaints in equity seeking to enjoin appellant, a third class school district, from collecting occupation taxes assessed and levied by it against appellees, three attorneys-at-law, and an employee of a carpet manufacturing company. The chancellor found in favor of the taxpayers, granted the injunction, and, following dismissal of its exceptions by the court en banc, the school district took these appeals.

The undisputed facts reveal that in 1965 appellant, acting under authority of the so-called "Tax Anything Act," Act of June 25, 1947, P. L. 1145, § 1 et seq., as amended, 53 P.S. § 6851 et seq., by resolution enacted an occupation tax pursuant to which the occupations were valued by the school district's tax director. Appellees were taxed, and paid the requested amounts. In 1966, the tax was reenacted without substantial change under authority of the new "tax anything" act,

[ 430 Pa. Page 464]

    known as The Local Tax Enabling Act, Act of December 31, 1965, P. L. 1257, § 1 et seq., 53 P.S. § 6901 et seq. (Supp. 1967).*fn1 Appellees refused to pay any occupation tax under this new school district enactment. When appellant attached appellees' wages to compel payment, appellees sought relief in equity.

In the court below appellees launched several attacks upon the occupation tax. They argued (1) that the tax was violative of the Uniformity Clause of the Pennsylvania Constitution, Article IX, § 1 in that it valued a specific occupation at varying rates depending on age, sex, experience, and days per week spent at work;*fn2 (2) that the tax was unconstitutional as being an unlawful delegation of legislative power to an administrator; (3) that the tax was actually a disguised income tax and as such violative of certain state statutes; and (4) that the tax violated state law because it permitted the school district tax director, rather than the chief county assessor, to place a value for tax purposes upon occupations themselves. In dismissing appellant's exceptions to the chancellor's decree ...


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