22 So. 824 (Miss. 1897), Adams v. Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Co

Citation22 So. 824, 75 Miss. 275
Opinion JudgeWHITFIELD, J.
Party NameWIRT ADAMS, STATE REVENUE AGENT, v. YAZOO & MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD Co
AttorneyWilliamson & Potter, for appellant. W. A. Henry, on same side. Mayes & Harris, for appellee.
Case DateDecember 20, 1897
CourtSupreme Court of Mississippi

Page 824

22 So. 824 (Miss. 1897)

75 Miss. 275

WIRT ADAMS, STATE REVENUE AGENT,

v.

YAZOO & MISSISSIPPI VALLEY RAILROAD Co

Supreme Court of Mississippi

December 20, 1897

December, 1897

FROM the circuit court, first district, Hinds county HON. ROBERT POWELL, Judge.

Wirt Adams, state revenue agent, an officer authorized by statute in certain cases to sue for and recover unpaid taxes-state, county, levee or municipal--when taxpayers have wrongfully escaped payment of the same, brought this suit against the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Company, to recover of it the municipal taxes which it should have paid, as plaintiff claimed, for the years 1893, 1894, 1895 and 1896, to the cities, towns and villages of Jackson, Yazoo City, Greenwood, Flora, Thornton, Tchula, Cruger, Lexington and Durant. The defendant railroad claimed an exemption from municipal taxes under the eighth section of its charter, which was in these words:

"Be it further enacted, That, in order to encourage the investment of capital in the works which said company is hereby authorized to construct and maintain, and to make certain in advance of such investment, and as an inducement and consideration therefor, the taxes and burdens which this state will and will not impose thereon, it is hereby declared that said company, its stock, its railroads and appurtenances, and all its property in this state, necessary or incident to the full exercise of all the powers herein granted, not to include compresses and oil mills, shall be exempt from taxation for a term of twenty years from the completion of said railroad to the Mississippi river, but not to extend beyond twenty-five years from the date of the approval of this act; and when the period of exemption herein prescribed shall have expired, the property of said railroad may be taxed at the same rate as other property in this state. All of said taxes to which the property of said company may be subject in this state, whether for county or state, shall be collected by the treasurer of this state and paid into the state treasury, to be dealt with as the legislature may direct; but said company shall be exempt from taxation by cities and towns."

The railroad had not been completed to the Mississippi river when the suit was brought.

The judgment of the circuit court was, upon demurrer to the declaration, favorable to defendant, and plaintiff appealed.

Judgment reversed, and cause remanded.

Williamson & Potter, for appellant.

The right of the Yazoo & Mississippi Valley Railroad Company to the exemption provided by the act of its incorporation, as to state and county taxes, has heretofore been decided by this court against the company, the court holding that the exemption was conditioned on the railroad reaching the Mississippi river. Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Thomas, 65 Miss. 553. This decision was affirmed by the supreme court of the United States. Y. & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Thomas, 132 U.S. 174.

The question presented by this case is, did the legislature, by the last paragraph of section eight of the charter, intend to grant perpetual and unconditional exemption from taxation by cities and towns? "Statutes or charters exempting property, persons or corporations from the common burdens of taxation are to be strictly construed. The intention of the legislature to grant the immunity claimed must be clear beyond a reasonable doubt, and the state must be given the benefit of every doubt arising as to the legislative intent." 25 Am. & Eng. Enc. L., 157; Hoge v. Railway Co., 99 U.S. 348; Sutherland Stat. Con., 364; Ice Co. v. Greenville, 69 Miss. 86; & M. V. R. R. Co. v. Thomas, 65 Miss. 553. "A claim of exemption from county and municipal taxation cannot be supported any more than a claim of exemption from state taxation, except upon language so strong as that, fairly interpreted, no room is left for controversy." Bailey v. Maguire, 22 Wall. [ U.S.], 215. "Doubt is fatal to the claim." Fertilizer Co. v. Hyde Park, 97 U.S. 667.

From a fair reading of the act under consideration it would appear that, provision having been made in section eight for the collection of state and county taxes by the state treasurer, and these having been thus specially mentioned, and as there might arise a doubt as to whether municipal taxes were covered by the exemption, on the doctrine that the mention of one would exclude the other, and, to make this certain, the clause, "but said company shall be exempt from taxation by cities and towns, " was added. Not that the company should have perpetual and unconditional exemption from municipal taxes, as is contended, but that it shall likewise [that is, upon the terms and conditions before made in the section], be exempt from municipal, as well as other taxes. This is borne out by the object and spirit of the act. The purpose of the legislature, in granting the exemption, was to induce the building of the road to the Mississippi river, as held in the Thomas case by this court and by the supreme court of the United States...

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67 practice notes
  • 139 S.W. 1112 (Ark. 1911), State v. Handlin
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 10, 1911
    ...36 Ill. 161; 15 Ct. Cl. 453. Each part of a section should be construed in connection with every other part. 95 Tenn. 22; 64 S.W. 927; 75 Miss. 275; 71 Vt. 493; 45 A. 1051; 161 Ill. 223. The act will not be so construed as to lead to absurd consequences. 100 Ga. 305; 28 S.E. 43; Lewis' Suth......
  • 100 So. 514 (Miss. 1924), 24346, Roseberry v. Norsworthy
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 9, 1924
    ...exceptions, consistently followed by this court. Earhart v. State, 67 Miss. 325; Ott v. Lowery, 78 Miss. 487; Adams v. Railroad Company, 75 Miss. 285. In State v. Traylor, 100 Miss. 544, by a divided court, this rule was departed from, but see able dissenting opinion, by Judge SMITH. State ......
  • 100 So. 602 (Miss. 1924), 24218, Broom v. Henry
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 16, 1924
    ...Give Effect to Such Intention. Eskridge v. Magruder, 45 Miss. 294; Clements v. Anderson, 46 Miss. 581; Adams v. Y. & M. V. R. R. Co., 75 Miss. 285, 22 So. 824. III. This Rule Applies Even Though it be Necessary to Restrict the Force of Subsidiary Provisions that Would Otherwise Conflict......
  • 138 So. 567 (Miss. 1932), 29667, State ex rel. Atty.-Gen. v. Mississippi Power & Light Co.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • January 4, 1932
    ...L. R. A. (N. S.) 541, Ann. Cas. 1914B, 392; Learned v. Corley, 43 Miss. 687; Bonds v. Greer, 56 Miss. 710; Adams v. Y. & M. V. R. Co., 75 Miss. 275, 22 So. 824. The court in construing a statute will not impute an unjust and unwise purpose to the legislature when any other reasonable co......
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67 cases
  • 139 S.W. 1112 (Ark. 1911), State v. Handlin
    • United States
    • Arkansas Supreme Court of Arkansas
    • July 10, 1911
    ...36 Ill. 161; 15 Ct. Cl. 453. Each part of a section should be construed in connection with every other part. 95 Tenn. 22; 64 S.W. 927; 75 Miss. 275; 71 Vt. 493; 45 A. 1051; 161 Ill. 223. The act will not be so construed as to lead to absurd consequences. 100 Ga. 305; 28 S.E. 43; Lewis' Suth......
  • 100 So. 514 (Miss. 1924), 24346, Roseberry v. Norsworthy
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 9, 1924
    ...exceptions, consistently followed by this court. Earhart v. State, 67 Miss. 325; Ott v. Lowery, 78 Miss. 487; Adams v. Railroad Company, 75 Miss. 285. In State v. Traylor, 100 Miss. 544, by a divided court, this rule was departed from, but see able dissenting opinion, by Judge SMITH. State ......
  • 100 So. 602 (Miss. 1924), 24218, Broom v. Henry
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • June 16, 1924
    ...Give Effect to Such Intention. Eskridge v. Magruder, 45 Miss. 294; Clements v. Anderson, 46 Miss. 581; Adams v. Y. & M. V. R. R. Co., 75 Miss. 285, 22 So. 824. III. This Rule Applies Even Though it be Necessary to Restrict the Force of Subsidiary Provisions that Would Otherwise Conflict......
  • 138 So. 567 (Miss. 1932), 29667, State ex rel. Atty.-Gen. v. Mississippi Power & Light Co.
    • United States
    • Mississippi Supreme Court of Mississippi
    • January 4, 1932
    ...L. R. A. (N. S.) 541, Ann. Cas. 1914B, 392; Learned v. Corley, 43 Miss. 687; Bonds v. Greer, 56 Miss. 710; Adams v. Y. & M. V. R. Co., 75 Miss. 275, 22 So. 824. The court in construing a statute will not impute an unjust and unwise purpose to the legislature when any other reasonable co......
  • Request a trial to view additional results