Skip to comments.Justices back city in property tax dispute
Posted on 06/05/2012 7:21:00 AM PDT by BuckeyeTexan
Homeowners who wound up paying thousands more dollars in special taxes than their neighbors for the same sewage service found no relief at the Supreme Court on Monday.
The justices, by a 6-3 vote, upheld the decision by city officials in Indianapolis to deny refunds for some residents who paid their assessment fees up front, while forgiving the remaining taxes of those choosing an installment plan.
Chief Justice John Roberts, in a tough dissent, said the result was a "gross disparity."
Those with the heftier bills sued, saying their Equal Protection rights under the Constitution were being violated.
The city had abandoned its installment plan option after just one year, and Justice Stephen Breyer said that was a proper exercise of government, since it reduced administrative costs.
"The city had a rational basis for distinguishing between those lot owners who had already paid their share of project costs and those who had not. And we conclude there is no equal protection violation," he said. "State law says nothing about forgiveness, how to design a forgiveness program, or whether or when rational distinctions in doing so are permitted."
He said the Supreme Court stepping in "would risk transforming ordinary violations of ordinary state tax law into violations of the federal Constitution."
(Excerpt) Read more at cnn.com ...
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This opens the door to corruption and welcomes it with open arms and confetti............
Sound advice in any event, especially if once you enter a payment plan the amount can only be reduced but never increased.
Ping to ...
NEVER PAY GOVERNMENT UPFRONT. They will change the rules and screw those who were fiscally prudent. With this case we will see RAMPANT abuse by the public sector against the taxpaying sheeple.
As someone who has done work on municipal water and sewer systems. I'm betting the real reason the "installment plan" was abandoned was because many if not most people weren't making the payments and the city figured it would cost more in legal fees to go after them for the money and they would probably never collect much of it even then. Unfair to the honest people that paid up front? You bet. But the same thing happens in everything from credit cards to mortgages.
The USSC opened that door with Kelo. Now, they're just removing the hinges.
I hope those homeowners who got screwed get some semblance of justice at the ballot box.
Option 4: Put a lien on the property of the non-payers, with the same interest charge as the bond taken out by the city to fund the work. In the absence of a bond, charge interest at the rate the city is currently paying for bonds. Honest people don’t get screwed, and dead-heads or their heirs pay one way or another.
No applause, please. Just pay at the door on your way out.
Solution now ... VOTE out the critters that screwed the responsible citizens. Put in candidate(s) that will do right by those hurt.