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Lake Shore Auto Parts Co. v. Korzen

OPINION FILED JULY 9, 1971.

LAKE SHORE AUTO PARTS CO. ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

BERNARD J. KORZEN, COUNTY TREASURER AND EX OFFICIO COUNTY COLLECTOR OF COOK COUNTY, ET AL., APPELLANTS. — EUGENE S. MAYNARD ET AL., PETITIONERS,

v.

EDWARD J. BARRETT, COUNTY CLERK OF COOK COUNTY, ET AL., DEFENDANTS. — CLEMENS K. SHAPIRO ET AL., APPELLANTS,

v.

EDWARD J. BARRETT, COUNTY CLERK OF COOK COUNTY, ET AL., APPELLEES.



No. 44199 — APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. WALTER P. DAHL, Judge, presiding.

No. 44308 — Original petition for mandamus.

No. 44432 — APPEAL from the Circuit Court of Cook County; the Hon. THOMAS C. DONOVAN, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE SCHAEFER DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Rehearing denied August 24, 1971.

SAMUEL W. WITWER, of Chicago, for petitioners.

EDWARD V. HANRAHAN, State's Attorney, of Chicago, (AUBREY F. KAPLAN, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel,) for defendants.

SCHLIFKIN & BERMAN, of Chicago, for appellants.

EDWARD V. HANRAHAN, State's Attorney, of Chicago, (AUBREY F. KAPLAN, Assistant State's Attorney, of counsel,) for appellees.

These consolidated cases present issues concerning the construction and the validity of article IX-A which was added to the constitution of 1870 by referendum vote at the November 1970 election. On June 30, 1969, the Senate and the House of Representatives concurred in the adoption of Senate Joint Resolution No. 30, which provided for the submission of the proposed amendment to a referendum vote. Senate Joint Resolution No. 30 (Senate Journal, June 30, 1969, p. 3476) is as follows:

"SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 30

Resolved, By the Senate of the Seventy-sixth General Assembly of the State of Illinois, the House of Representatives concurring herein, that there shall be submitted to the electors of the state for adoption or rejection at the next election of members of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois, in the manner provided by law, a proposition to add Article IX-A to the Constitution, the added Article to read as follows:

ARTICLE IX-A

Section 1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, the taxation of personal property by valuation is prohibited as to individuals.

SCHEDULE

Paragraph 1. This amendment shall become effective January 1, 1971."

The explanation of the amendment which appeared upon the referendum ballot is as follows:

"The amendment would abolish the personal property tax by valuation levied against individuals. It would not affect the same tax levied against corporations and other entities not considered in law to be individuals. The amendment would achieve this result by adding a new article to the Constitution of 1870, Article IX-A, thus setting aside existing provisions in Article IX, section 1, that require the taxation by valuation of all forms of property, real and personal or other, owned by individuals and corporations."

Subsequently, on May 19, 1970, the Senate adopted Senate Joint Resolution No. 67 (Senate Journal May 19, 1970, p. 6), which contained a further statement of the intention of the General Assembly in adopting Senate Joint Resolution No. 30. Senate Joint Resolution No. 67 was concurred in by the House of Representatives on May 29, 1970 (Senate Journal, May 29, 1970, p. 149). It reads as follows:

"SENATE JOINT RESOLUTION NO. 67

RESOLVED, BY THE SENATE OF THE SEVENTY-SIXTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES CONCURRING HEREIN, that, in adopting Senate Joint Resolution No. 30, which submits to the electors of this State a constitutional amendment prohibiting the taxation of personal property by valuation as to individuals, it was the intention of this General Assembly to abolish the ad valorem taxation of personal property owned by a natural person or by two or more natural persons, and that, by the use of the phrase `as to individuals', this General Assembly intended to mean a natural person, or two or more natural persons as joint tenants or tenants in common."

The first of the three consolidated actions that are before us was filed by Lake Shore Auto Parts Co., a corporation, on December 9, 1970. The complaint named as defendants the county clerk of Cook County, the county assessor, the county collector and the members of the board of appeals of that county, as well as the director of the Department of Local Government Affairs of the State. It alleged that it was filed as a class action on behalf of the plaintiff (hereafter Lake Shore) and on behalf of all other corporations and other "non-individuals" subject to personal property tax. It asserted that the new article IX-A violates the fourteenth amendment to the constitution of the United States because its effect "is to exonerate from ad valorem personal property taxation on and after January 1, 1971, all personal property owned by `individuals', while authorizing and requiring the continued ad valorem taxation of all personal property owned by entities other than `individuals'." It also alleged that the provisions of article IX-A immediately became a part of and amended the Revenue Act of 1939, so that that statute "imposes ad valorem taxes only with respect to personal property owned by corporations and other entities which are not `individuals' within the meaning of said Article IX-A." The complaint prayed for a decree "finding and declaring that the provisions of the Revenue Act of 1939 * * *, as amended by Article IX-A of the Constitution of Illinois, are unconstitutional, invalid and unenforceable insofar and to the extent that such statute purports to impose ad valorem taxes with respect to personal property owned by plaintiff and all corporations and other `non-individuals' who are members of the class which plaintiff represents." An injunction, as well as relief appropriate to a class action, was also sought.

The answers of the defendants denied the legal conclusions asserted by the plaintiff. They did not admit the allegations that related to the representative character of the action, but they did not dispute any allegations of fact that related to the basic issues.

All parties moved for summary judgment, and the trial court entered an order on March 20, 1971, granting the basic relief prayed for in the complaint, but reserving jurisdiction to determine the class aspect of the action. The order also found that article IX-A is not applicable to personal property taxes the assessment of which was commenced prior to January 1, 1971. The defendant, Robert J. Lehnhausen, Director of the Department of Local Government Affairs of the State of Illinois, has appealed, and the ...


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