Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Berry v. Costello

OPINION FILED JANUARY 20, 1976.

CHARLIE E. BERRY ET AL., APPELLEES,

v.

DAN E. COSTELLO, COUNTY COLLECTOR, APPELLANT.



Appeal from the Circuit Court of St. Clair County; the Hon. Robert L. Gagen, Judge, presiding.

MR. JUSTICE RYAN DELIVERED THE OPINION OF THE COURT:

Plaintiffs filed a class action in the circuit court of St. Clair County seeking a declaration that the mobile home privilege tax (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 120, par. 1201 et seq.) is unconstitutional. The named plaintiffs are owners of an inhabited mobile home and under protest paid the assessed tax of $90.72 for the year ending June 30, 1974. The circuit court declared the statute unconstitutional and granted the injunctive and other relief requested by plaintiffs. Defendant brought this direct appeal pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 302(a). Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 110A, par. 302(a).

We find that the mobile home privilege tax is constitutionally valid. Consequently, we reverse the decree of the circuit court of St. Clair County.

The pertinent section of the challenged statute (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1973, ch. 120, par. 1203) provides:

"Mobile homes in addition to such taxes as provided in the `Use Tax Act' shall be subject to the following privilege tax only, and to no other ad valorem tax. Except as provided in Section 7, the owner of each inhabited mobile home shall pay to the county treasurer of the county in which such mobile home is located an annual tax to be computed at the rate of 15 cents per square foot."

Under the 1970 Illinois Constitution the legislature has broad powers to tax. Section 1 of article IX provides:

"The General Assembly has the exclusive power to raise revenue by law except as limited or otherwise provided in this Constitution."

In drafting article IX of the 1970 Constitution, the Committee on Revenue and Finance sought to insure that the legislature would be free from restrictive interpretations of the State's taxing power. Thus, the committee stated in its majority report:

"Section 1 allows the General Assembly broad latitude in imposing taxes. It permits the levy of property, sales, use, franchise, privilege, income, excise, inheritance, gift, severance and all other kinds of taxes. The Committee did not list these taxes in the proposal, however, because of the danger that a court might interpret any omission as a denial of the power to impose a tax not specifically named in the constitution. * * * [D]uring the life of this constitution forms of taxation, or variations of existing forms, may be developed which the state should be free to adopt if its elected representatives so choose.

* * * [This proposal] permits the General Assembly to concentrate on the merits of tax policy rather than upon the constitutionality of a particular form of taxation * * *." 7 Record of Proceedings, Sixth Illinois Constitutional Convention 2066-67 (hereinafter cited as Proceedings).

The legislature has labeled this tax a "privilege tax on mobile homes." We will therefore first consider the challenge to its validity as a privilege tax.

A State's scheme of taxation is presumed constitutionally valid, and this presumption "may be overcome only by a clear showing that it is arbitrary and unsupportable by any set of facts." (People ex rel. Kutner v. Cullerton (1974), 58 Ill.2d 266, 273.) "The burden is on the one attacking the legislative arrangement to negative every conceivable basis which might support it." (Lehnhausen v. Lake Shore Auto Parts Co. 410 U.S. 356, 35 L.Ed.2d 351, 93 S.Ct. 1001; see also Johnson v. Halpin (1952), 413 Ill. 257; Reif v. Barrett (1933), 355 Ill. 104.) Here, plaintiffs have failed to carry their burden of establishing the invalidity of the tax since, as noted later, we find ample support for it as a "privilege" or nonproperty tax.

Plaintiffs contend that the "privilege" of living in a mobile home is not a privilege but rather a right protected by the State and Federal constitutions. Impliedly, plaintiffs argue that the right of habitation may not be taxed. There is no constitutional prohibition against the taxation of personal rights. "Taxes * * * are commonly levied on property or its use, but they may likewise be laid on the exercise of personal rights and privileges." (Carmichael v. Southern Coal & Coke Co. (1936), 301 U.S. 495, 508, 81 L.Ed. 1245, 1252, 57 S.Ct. 868.) Further, "the legislative power to tax privileges is not limited to those privileges which the legislature alone authorizes, and which it can ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.