98 P. 1002 (Okla. 1908), Anderson v. Ritterbusch

Citation:98 P. 1002, 22 Okla. 761, 1908 OK 250
Opinion Judge:KANE, J.
Party Name:ANDERSON v. RITTERBUSCH, County Treasurer.
Attorney:C. G. Horner, for plaintiff. M. Fulton, John Adams, and Paul Williams, for defendant.
Case Date:December 21, 1908
Court:Supreme Court of Oklahoma

Page 1002

98 P. 1002 (Okla. 1908)

22 Okla. 761, 1908 OK 250

ANDERSON

v.

RITTERBUSCH, County Treasurer.

Supreme Court of Oklahoma

December 21, 1908

Syllabus by the Court.

"Revenue laws" are those laws only whose principal object is the raising of revenue, and not those under which revenue may incidentally arise.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Statutes, Cent. Dig. § 5 ; Dec. Dig. § 6. [*]

For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, vol. 7, pp. 6209-6211.]

Senate Bill No. 245 (Sess. Laws 1907-08, p. 729, c. 81, art. 9), entitled "An act for the discovery of property not listed for taxation, providing for its assessment and the collection of taxes thereon," is not a "bill for raising revenue," such as must originate in the House of Representatives, under section 33, art. 5 (Bunn's Ed. § 106), of the Constitution.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Statutes, Cent. Dig. § 5 ; Dec. Dig. § 6. [*]

For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, vol. 1, p. 778.]

"Revenue bills" are those that levy taxes in the strict sense of the word, and are not bills for other purposes which may incidentally create revenue.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Statutes, Cent. Dig. § 5; Dec. Dig. § 6. [*] ]

Taxes due the territory of Oklahoma prior to statehood on account of omitted property constituted a debt accruing to the territory, under section 3 of the schedule (Bunn's Ed. § 452) to the Constitution, and the Legislature of the state may make provisions for the recovery of such taxes by the state.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 25. [*]]

Whenever a law of general nature is passed by the Legislature for the whole state, and is not applied by the Legislature to any particular locality therein, and has no words prohibiting its application to any particular locality, it is a "law having uniform operation throughout the state," within the meaning of section 59, art. 5 (Bunn's Ed. § 132), of our Constitution, although it may not practically have operation in every part of the state.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Statutes, Cent. Dig. § 73; Dec. Dig. § 73. [*] ]

Senate Bill No. 245 (Sess. Laws 1907-08, p. 729, c. 81, art. 9) is purely remedial in its nature. It does not attempt to levy a tax, but only goes to confirm pre-existing rights by providing a means for the collection of taxes upon omitted or escaped property. Such legislation is not repugnant to section 19, art. 10 (Bunn's Ed. § 285), of the Constitution, which provides that every act levying a tax shall specify the purpose for which it is levied, and that the tax so levied shall not be devoted to any other purpose.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 310. [*]]

The fact that the public expenses have been paid for the years in which the taxes were omitted, or that the particular purposes for which they were originally required have been met with other funds, or that the collection of the omitted taxes may temporarily create a surplus of public revenues, presents no constitutional grounds why omitted property should continue to escape its due share of taxation. When collected, these taxes will still belong to the public, and, like any other surplus, be subject to future appropriation, and thereby lessen future taxation upon those who have already paid more than their share.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 109. [*]]

Senate Bill No. 245 (Sess. Laws 1907-08, p. 729, c. 81, art. 9) provides a method by which taxes due on omitted property may be assessed and collected. It gives a new remedy to the state for enforcing a right which it had all the time possessed, namely, the right to taxes upon property liable to taxation. Such legislation invades no vested right of the taxpayer.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Cent. Dig. § 240; Dec. Dig. § 106. [*]]

Where the language plainly shows the legislative intent that the statute should have a retrospective operation, the court will so construe the act as to give it the operation intended.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Statutes, Cent. Dig. § 344; Dec. Dig. § 263. [*] ]

The "taxing power," when acting within its legitimate sphere, is one which knows no stopping place, until it has accomplished the purpose for which it exists, viz., the actual enforcement and collection from every lawful object of taxation of its proportionate share of the public burdens; and, if prevented by any obstacles, it may return again and again until, the way being clear, the tax is collected.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 2. [*]

For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, vol. 8, p. 6890.]

In laws for the assessment and collection of taxes due on omitted property, it is uniformity of burden, and not identity of method of enforcement, which is required by constitutional principles.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 40. [*]]

The state has the power, through its Legislature if it sees fit, to pass a retrospective law providing for the reassessment of property grossly undervalued. Hence the owner of omitted property has no right to complain that his property is assessed at its actual cash value, because other property has been assessed heretofore at much less than its real value. The Legislature may at any time require the reassessment of all such undervalued property. No property owner can refuse to pay his full obligations to the state for taxes merely because some of his neighbors may not yet have paid their full obligation.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Taxation, Dec. Dig. § 362 1/2. [*]]

The rule that statutes of limitation do not run against the state unless it is expressly so provided is applicable in actions where the state, though not the real party to the record, is the real party in interest.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Limitation of Actions, Cent. Dig.

§ 36; Dec. Dig. § 11. [*]]

A law is not ex post facto merely when it is criminal in character, but that doctrine extends to laws which are penal in any form which provides the imposition of some punitive consequence for its violation of any other process prescribed. That part of Senate Bill No. 245 (Sess. Laws 1907-08, p. 729, c. 81, art. 9) which provides that "all taxes levied under the provisions of this act, shall become payable immediately, and shall be entered upon the tax roll, and shall bear interest and penalties at the same rate as provided by existing laws," in so far as it attempts to operate retrospectively, falls within this class of legislation, and is repugnant to section 15, art. 2 (Bunn's Ed. § 24), of the Constitution, which prohibits the enactment of ex post facto laws.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Cent. Dig. § 532; Dec. Dig. § 190. [*]]

"Due process of law" does not necessarily include trial by jury, or in certain cases any court trial.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Cent. Dig. § 732; Dec. Dig. § 251. [*]

For other definitions, see Words and Phrases, vol. 3, pp. 2227-2256; vol. 8, p. 7644.]

Due process of law does not always require judicial hearings, except in matters of purely judicial nature, but not in matters of taxation, of matters purely administrative in their nature.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Dec. Dig. § 318. [*]]

A law authorizing the assessment and collection of taxes on omitted property, which affords the owner an opportunity to question the validity of it, either before that amount is determined or in subsequent proceedings for its collection, does not infringe section 7, art. 2 (Bunn's Ed. § 16), of the Constitution, which provides that "No person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property, without due process of law."

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Cent. Dig. §§ 893-896; Dec. Dig. § 284. [*]]

A proceeding for the assessment and collection of taxes on omitted property is not a civil action. It is a remedial proceeding granted by the Legislature, conferring upon the treasurer a remedial right and duty not heretofore existing, for the assessment and collection of taxes due on omitted property, and as a matter of grace the Legislature gave the taxpayer the right of appeal to the county court, where said summary proceedings may be heard de novo.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Courts, Dec. Dig. § 183. [*]]

Section 36, art. 5 (Bunn's Ed. § 109), of the Constitution, providing that "any specific grant of authority in this Constitution, upon any subject whatsoever, shall not work a restriction, limitation, or exclusion of such authority upon the same or any other subject or subjects whatsoever," was incorporated into the Constitution to exclude the idea of the exclusion of power by implication.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Dec. Dig. § 26. [*]]

It is not on slight implication and vague conjecture that the Legislature is to be pronounced to have transcended its powers, and its acts to be considered as void. The opposition between the Constitution and the law should be such that the judge feels a clear and strong conviction of their incompatibility with each other.

[Ed. Note.-For other cases, see Constitutional Law, Dec. Dig. § 48. [*]]

Original petition by George Anderson for a writ of prohibition to be directed to Fred W. Ritterbusch, Treasurer of Logan County. Writ denied.

Page 1004

C. G. Horner, for plaintiff.

M. Fulton, John Adams, and Paul Williams, for defendant.

KANE, J.

This is an original proceeding praying for a writ of prohibition, commenced by George Anderson, the plaintiff, a taxpayer of Logan county, Okl., against Fred W. Ritterbusch, treasurer of said county. The petition alleges, in substance, that on the 11th day of September, 1908, the defendant served upon the plaintiff a notice in writing, by the terms whereof plaintiff was notified that, unless he filed objections in writing at the county treasurer's office, in said Logan...

To continue reading

FREE SIGN UP