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02/02/89 Advanced Systems, Inc., Et v. J. Thomas Johnson

February 2, 1989

ADVANCED SYSTEMS, INC., ET AL., APPELLANTS

v.

J. THOMAS JOHNSON, DIRECTOR OF REVENUE, ET AL., APPELLEES



SUPREME COURT OF ILLINOIS

535 N.E.2d 797, 126 Ill. 2d 484, 129 Ill. Dec. 32 1989.IL.114

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Cook County, the Hon. Earl Arkiss, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE WARD delivered the opinion of the court. JUSTICE CALVO took no part in the consideration or decision of this case.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE WARD

The plaintiffs, Advanced Systems, Inc., and other property taxpayers, appeared at a public hearing conducted by the Department of Revenue (Department) on the 1985 estimated multiplier for Cook County to object that the multiplier was too high. A hearing officer overruled their objections and the Director of the Department certified a multiplier of 1.8085 for 1985. The circuit court, on administrative review (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 619; ch. 110, par. 3-101 et seq.) affirmed the Department's determinations. We granted the plaintiffs' motion for direct review to this court under our Rule 302(b) (107 Ill. 2d R. 302(b)).

Taxes on real property in our State are to be levied uniformly by valuation. (Ill. Const. 1970, art. IX, § 4(a).) Except in counties with a population of more than 200,000, which classify real property for purposes of taxation, real property is to be valued or assessed at 33 1/3% of its fair cash value. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 501.) The Department is directed to equalize assessments between our State's 102 counties so that the assessed valuation of real property in each county will, in aggregate, be at the specified level of 33 1/3% of its fair cash value. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 627.) To equalize the property values between counties, the Department annually calculates an equalization factor, or "multiplier," to be applied to the aggregate assessed valuation of property in each county. In other words, the multiplier may raise or reduce the aggregate assessed valuation of property within a county to meet the statutory level of 33 1/3% of fair cash value. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, pars. 627, 630.

The plaintiffs, as stated, objected at a public hearing in July 1986 conducted by the Department, as mandated by section 148a (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 629a), to the estimated 1985 multiplier as being too high. After the hearing, the Department did not alter its estimated multiplier of 1.8085, but certified that figure as its final determination. On administrative review, the trial court found for the Department. Taxes were extended by the county based on the equalized assessed valuation produced by application of the multiplier. See Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 632.

The plaintiffs raise numerous objections to the equalization process used by the Department to calculate the 1985 multiplier for Cook County. As the trial court observed, "The taxpayers' strategy, in its excellent legal craftsmanship, was to employ a high-powered caliber Howitzer in its assault upon the determination of the multiplier." The arguments, happily, may be grouped into three categories for Disposition: (1) the law providing for the multiplier is invalid as a violation of the "single subject" requirements of the 1870 and 1970 Illinois Constitutions; (2) the Department failed to exercise "considered judgment" in setting the 1985 multiplier; and (3) the Department failed to follow the Administrative Procedure Act, and also violated the taxpayers' due process rights: (a) in setting procedures for its sales-ratio studies; (b) in setting the multiplier; and (c) in the manner it conducted the hearing and decisionmaking process on the multiplier. I. THE VALIDITY OF THE MULTIPLIER LAW

The plaintiffs contend that the provision of the Revenue Act of 1939 establishing the multiplier (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 627) is invalid as violative of the requirements of the Illinois Constitutions of 1870 and 1970 that an act of the legislature must have a title and single subject matter. (Ill. Const. 1870, art. IV, § 13; Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 8(d).) As the plaintiffs correctly note, legislation enacted while the 1870 Constitution was in force and before the 1970 Constitution was adopted must be valid under both constitutions. People ex rel. Hanrahan v. Caliendo (1971), 50 Ill. 2d 72, 76.

The 1870 Constitution provided:

"No act hereafter passed shall embrace more than one subject, and that shall be expressed in the title. But if any subject shall be embraced in an act which shall not be expressed in the title, such act shall be void only as to so much thereof as shall not be so expressed." Ill. Const. 1870, art. IV, § 13.

The 1970 Constitution has a parallel provision, stating: "Bills, except bills for appropriations and for the codification, revision or rearrangement of laws, shall be confined to one subject." Ill. Const. 1970, art. IV, § 8(d).

The full title of the Revenue Act of 1939 states:

"An Act to revise the law in relation to the assessment of property and the levy and collection of taxes, and to repeal certain Acts herein named." Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 120, par. 482.

The plaintiffs say the provisions of the Revenue Act that establish the multiplier are outside the scope of the title of the Act. The plaintiffs say that equalization is beyond the scope of the Act's title, as it is neither the levy nor collection of taxes, and equalization is a separate function from the assessment of property taxes. If the legislature chooses a specific title, as the plaintiffs claim it did here, then provisions that are not within the scope of the specific subject chosen are not included in the Act. The equalization process, the plaintiffs acknowledge, is part of the whole ...


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