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CITY PITTSBURGH v. PITTSBURGH PRESS COMPANY (07/18/74)

decided: July 18, 1974.

CITY OF PITTSBURGH, PETER F. FLAHERTY, MAYOR, AND JOSEPH L. COSETTI, TREASURER, APPELLANTS,
v.
PITTSBURGH PRESS COMPANY, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in case of Pittsburgh Press Company v. The City of Pittsburgh, a municipal corporation, Peter F. Flaherty, Mayor of the City of Pittsburgh, and Joseph L. Cosetti, Treasurer of the City of Pittsburgh, No. 864 of 1970.

COUNSEL

Grace S. Harris, Special Assistant City Solicitor, with her Ralph Lynch, Jr., City Solicitor, for appellants.

Clyde A. Armstrong, with him William W. Scott, Jr., Frank Mast and Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for appellee.

President Judge Bowman and Judges Crumlish, Jr., Kramer, Wilkinson, Jr., Mencer, Rogers and Blatt.

Author: Per Curiam

[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 552]

We affirm the final order of the court below upon the comprehensive and scholarly adjudication of Judge Loran L. Lewis, those portions of which we deem it necessary here to reproduce, follow:

"The plaintiff, the Pittsburgh Press Company, brings this suit in equity praying that this Court restrain and enjoin the defendant, the City of Pittsburgh, and its

[ 14 Pa. Commw. Page 553]

Chief Executive and Financial Officers from levying, imposing, assessing and collecting the Business Privilege Tax from the plaintiff based on its gross receipts from advertising.

"Pursuant to the Local Tax Enabling Act, the City of Pittsburgh in 1968 enacted the Business Privilege Tax Ordinance No. 675 which imposes a six mill tax on gross receipts for the privilege of engaging in business within the City and which limits the scope of the tax to persons or businesses which are within the taxing powers of the City of Pittsburgh.

"Plaintiff contends that its gross receipts from advertising are not subject to the taxing powers granted to the defendants by the Local Tax Enabling Act in that the printing and circulating of advertisements in the Pittsburgh Press constitute manufacturing at least to the same degree as, and in many respects to a greater degree than, the printing and circulating of the news content which is admittedly manufacturing; that if the printing and circulating of advertising does not constitute manufacturing, then the receipt of advertising revenues constitutes a 'privilege, act or transaction related to the business of manufacturing"; and that the imposition of said tax upon plaintiff constitutes an infringement upon and a suppression of the plaintiff's and the public's guaranteed right of free speech and press.

"The dispositive issue is whether or not plaintiff's gross receipts from advertising are subject to tax or, more specifically, whether or not advertisements appearing in a general newspaper are manufactured. The law of Pennsylvania has held, and the defendants admit, that the printing and circulation of news, including editorial, sports and features ...


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