Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy, Nos. 94-642

CourtUnited States State Supreme Court of Ohio
Writing for the CourtPER CURIAM; MOYER
Citation652 N.E.2d 188,73 Ohio St.3d 29
Docket Number94-643 and 94-644,Nos. 94-642
Decision Date09 August 1995
Parties, 132 Oil & Gas Rep. 674 GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Appellant, v. TRACY, Tax Commr., Appellee.

Page 29

73 Ohio St.3d 29
652 N.E.2d 188, 132 Oil & Gas Rep. 674
GENERAL MOTORS CORPORATION, Appellant,
v.
TRACY, Tax Commr., Appellee.
Nos. 94-642, 94-643 and 94-644.
Supreme Court of Ohio.
Submitted April 25, 1995.
Decided Aug. 9, 1995.

[652 N.E.2d 189] General Motors Corporation ("GM"), appellant, contests the assessment of use tax on its purchases of natural gas from out-of-state vendors.

GM purchased natural gas from independent natural gas marketers to heat its manufacturing plants. These marketers obtained natural gas from producers outside the state and arranged for transportation to the initial receiving pipeline of the national natural gas pipeline outside the state. These marketers did not own the transportation equipment; they paid a fee to pipeline companies to transport the natural gas to the insertion points. GM took title to the gas at delivery to the receiving pipeline outside the state. GM then arranged to transport and deliver the natural gas to its locations in Ohio: the Lordstown plant, the Defiance Central Foundry, and the Packard Electric facility in Warren.

Page 30

The Tax Commissioner, appellee, assessed a use tax for various audit periods in these three cases because GM purchased the natural gas outside Ohio and consumed it in Ohio. GM appealed the commissioner's order to the Board of Tax Appeals ("BTA"), and the BTA affirmed the order (except for a penalty on preassessment interest), citing for support its decision in Chrysler Corp. v. Tracy (Jan. 21, 1994), BTA No. 91-K-1523, unreported.

These causes are now before this court upon appeals as of right.

Jones, Day, Reavis & Pogue, John C. Duffy, Jr., Timothy B. Dyk and Gregory A. Castanias, Cleveland, for appellant.

Betty D. Montgomery, Atty. Gen., and Barton A. Hubbard, Asst. Atty. Gen., for appellee.

Emens, Kegler, Brown, Hill & Ritter Co., L.P.A., Paul D. Ritter, Jr., Holly R. Fischer and Thomas W. Hill, Columbus, urging affirmance for amicus curiae, Enron Access Corp.

PER CURIAM.

R.C. 5741.02 imposes a use tax on the storage, use, or consumption of tangible personal property in Ohio. R.C. 5741.02(C)(2) exempts from this tax acquisitions "which, if made in Ohio, would be a sale not subject to the tax imposed by sections 5739.01 to 5739.31 of the Revised Code." GM claims that the instant acquisitions would be exempt under R.C. 5739.02(B)(7) as sales of natural gas by a natural gas company.

However, in Chrysler Corp. v. Tracy (1995), 73 Ohio St.3d 26, 652 N.E.2d 185, we upheld the determination of the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that a vendor in the type of sales now before us is by definition not a natural gas company and held that R.C. 5739.02(B)(7) does not exempt this type of sale. Consequently, we affirm the BTA's decision as to this claim.

GM also contends that the commissioner's application of this exemption statute violates the Commerce and Equal Protection Clauses of the federal Constitution. According to New Energy Co. of Indiana v. Limbach (1988), 486 U.S. 269, 273-274, 108 S.Ct. 1803, 1807-1808, 100 L.Ed.2d 302, 308:

"It has long been accepted that the Commerce Clause not only grants Congress the authority to regulate commerce among the States, but also directly limits the power of the States to discriminate against interstate commerce. See, e.g., Hughes v. Oklahoma, 441 U.S. 322, 326 [99 S.Ct. 1727, 1731, 60 L.Ed.2d 250, 255-256] (1979); H.P. Hood & Sons, Inc. v. Du Mond, 336 U.S. 525, 534-535 [69 S.Ct. 657, 663-664, 93 L.Ed. 865, 872-873] (1949); Welton v. Missouri, 91 U.S. 275 [23 L.Ed. 347] (1876). This 'negative' aspect of the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
35 practice notes
  • General Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 951232
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 18, 1997
    ...commerce, and there is unquestionably a rational basis for Ohio's distinction between these two kinds of entities. Pp. ___-___. 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 652 N.E.2d 188, affirmed. SOUTER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and O'CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, GINSBU......
  • State v. Moore, No. 2014–0120.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 22, 2016
    ...abuse of discretion connotes a decision that is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable. 149 Ohio St.3d 609Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 32, 652 N.E.2d 188 (1995). Assuming that the court of appeals had authority under App.R. 14(B) to consider Moore's application for delay......
  • Columbia Gas Transm. Corp. v. Levin, No. 2006-1443.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • February 14, 2008
    ...(1980), 447 U.S. 429, 437, 100 S.Ct. 2271, 65 L.Ed.2d 244. {¶ 52} Under consideration in Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 73 Ohio St.3d at 30, 652 N.E.2d 188, was an Ohio statute that imposed a general sales tax on sales of natural gas in the state and a use tax on natural gas purchases out-of-s......
  • State ex rel. Master v. Cleveland, No. 95-1108
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • March 4, 1996
    ...charge. An abuse of discretion connotes a decision that is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable. Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy (1995), 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 32, 652 N.E.2d 188, 190. The evidence indicates that Sazima was officially instructed to locate Master's living relatives as part of a f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
35 cases
  • General Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 951232
    • United States
    • United States Supreme Court
    • February 18, 1997
    ...commerce, and there is unquestionably a rational basis for Ohio's distinction between these two kinds of entities. Pp. ___-___. 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 652 N.E.2d 188, affirmed. SOUTER, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which REHNQUIST, C.J., and O'CONNOR, SCALIA, KENNEDY, THOMAS, GINSBU......
  • State v. Moore, No. 2014–0120.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • December 22, 2016
    ...abuse of discretion connotes a decision that is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable. 149 Ohio St.3d 609Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 32, 652 N.E.2d 188 (1995). Assuming that the court of appeals had authority under App.R. 14(B) to consider Moore's application for delay......
  • Columbia Gas Transm. Corp. v. Levin, No. 2006-1443.
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • February 14, 2008
    ...(1980), 447 U.S. 429, 437, 100 S.Ct. 2271, 65 L.Ed.2d 244. {¶ 52} Under consideration in Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy, 73 Ohio St.3d at 30, 652 N.E.2d 188, was an Ohio statute that imposed a general sales tax on sales of natural gas in the state and a use tax on natural gas purchases out-of-s......
  • State ex rel. Master v. Cleveland, No. 95-1108
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Ohio
    • March 4, 1996
    ...charge. An abuse of discretion connotes a decision that is unreasonable, arbitrary or unconscionable. Gen. Motors Corp. v. Tracy (1995), 73 Ohio St.3d 29, 32, 652 N.E.2d 188, 190. The evidence indicates that Sazima was officially instructed to locate Master's living relatives as part of a f......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT