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MOON TOWNSHIP AND WILLIAM P. WALSH v. GRANT-OLIVER CORPORATION (07/08/82)

decided: July 8, 1982.

MOON TOWNSHIP AND WILLIAM P. WALSH, TREASURER OF MOON TOWNSHIP, APPELLANTS
v.
GRANT-OLIVER CORPORATION, APPELLEE



Appeal from the Order of Common Pleas of Allegheny County in the case of Moon Township and William P. Walsh, Treasurer of Moon Township v. Grant-Oliver Corporation, O.G.D. 80-26102B.

COUNSEL

James R. Duffy, with him Ira F. Bradford, for appellants.

Jeffrey S. Blum, with him John S. Bingler, Jr., Thorp, Reed & Armstrong, for appellee.

President Judge Crumlish and Judges Rogers, Blatt, Craig and MacPhail. Opinion by Judge MacPhail.

Author: Macphail

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 337]

Moon Township (Township or Appellant)*fn1 has brought this appeal from an order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County dismissing Appellant's complaint in assumpsit seeking to recover taxes allegedly due from Grant-Oliver Corporation (Appellee). We affirm.

This case is best understood in its historical context. In December of 1966, the Township enacted*fn2 a parking tax ordinance (Ordinance 158), which imposed a tax of 10% of gross receipts from all parking transactions of operators of commercial parking places in the Township. One of the commercial parking lots in the Township is located at the Greater-Pittsburgh International Airport. The airport and this parking lot are owned by Allegheny County. The lot is managed by Appellee as a concessionaire.

[ 67 Pa. Commw. Page 338]

In April of 1967, Allegheny County commenced an equity action seeking to restrain the Township from enforcing the ordinance against the county or the Appellee. The chancellor held the lot was non-taxable and issued a permanent injunction. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania affirmed the injunction, County of Allegheny v. Township of Moon, 436 Pa. 54, 258 A.2d 630 (1969), determining that the lot was exempt from all Township tax under Section 204(g) of The General County Assessment Law, Act of May 22, 1933, P.L. 853, as amended, 72 P.S. § 5020-204(g) (current version at Section 204(a)(7), 72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(7)), the "public property used for public purposes" exemption.*fn3

In 1977, the Pennsylvania Legislature amended Section 204. As a result of this action, the following language was added to the "public property used for public purposes" exemption:

     nor shall this act or any other act be construed to exempt from taxation any privilege, act or transaction conducted upon public property by persons or entities which would be taxable if conducted upon non-public property regardless of the purpose or purposes for which such activity occurs, even if conducted as agent for or lessee of any public authority.

72 P.S. § 5020-204(a)(7).

In 1980, nearly three years after the 1977 amendment, the Appellant filed the present complaint in assumpsit seeking to collect taxes for the years 1977 through 1980 it claims are owed by Appellee under Ordinance 158. Appellant asserted in its ...


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