Hallahan v. City of Port Angeles

Decision Date20 March 1931
Docket Number22979.
CourtWashington Supreme Court

Department 1.

Appeal from Superior Court, Clallan County; John M. Ralston, Judge.

Action by John Mallahan against the City of Port Angeles. Judgment of dismissal, and plaintiff appeals.


John M Wilson, of Port Angeles, for appellant.

Frank L. Plummer, of Port Angeles, and Preston, Thorgrimson &amp Turner, of Seattle, and Lewis & Church, of Port Angeles, for respondent.


This action was brought to restrain the collection of a tax. To the complaint a demurrer was interposed and sustained. The plaintiff elected to stand upon his complaint, refusing to plead further, and judgment dismissing the action was entered, from which he appeals.

The respondent city of Port Angeles is a city of the third class. The appellant is a resident and taxpayer of the city, and he brought this action on behalf of himself and all other persons similarly situated. August 29, 1928 the respondent, acting by reason of the requirements of Rem 1927 Supp. title 60, chapter 21-A (Laws 1927, c. 209), passed an ordinance creating a local improvement guaranty fund, in accordance with that statute. Acting under authority of the statute and the ordinance mentioned, the respondent included in its budget for the year 1931 a levy of seven-tenths of a mill, to be spread upon all the taxable property of the city, the proceeds of such tax to be paid into the local improvement guaranty fund, and, when collected, to be used to retire local improvement bonds, as provided in the statute. The action, as above indicated, was to restrain the city from levying and collecting the tax.

The controlling question is whether the statute mentioned is constitutional, and this depends upon whether or not it imposes a tax upon the cities and towns of the state, or upon the property of the inhabitants thereof, for city or municipal purposes.

Section 12, of article 11, of the Constitution of this state, provides: 'The legislature shall have no power to impose taxes upon counties, cities, towns, or other municipal corporations, or upon the inhabitants or property thereof, for county, city, town, or other municipal purposes, but may by general laws vest in the corporate authorities thereof the power to assess and collect taxes for such purposes.'

Here is a prohibition against the Legislature imposing taxes upon cities, towns, counties, or other municipal corporations, or the inhabitants thereof, for county, city, town, or other municipal purposes. The inquiry, then, must be directed to whether the statute imposes such a tax. Section 9351-1, Rem. 1927 Supp., which is one of the sections of the chapter mentioned, provides that 'there is hereby established for each city and town in the state a fund for the purpose of guaranteeing to the extent of such fund and in the manner hereinafter provided, the payment of its local improvement bonds and warrants issued to pay for any local improvement ordered. * * *'

Section 9351-2 provides that such fund shall be designated as the 'Local Improvement Guaranty Fund,' and, for the purpose of maintaining this fund, every city or town shall, after the creation thereof, '* * * levy, from time to time, as other taxes are levied, such sums as may be necessary to meet the financial requirements thereof; provided, that such sums so levied in any year shall not be more than sufficient to pay the outstanding warrants on said fund and to establish therein a blance which combined levy in any one year shall not exceed five per centum of the outstanding obligations thereby guaranteed.'

Section 9351-3 provides that, whenever there shall be paid out of the guaranty fund any sum on account of principal or interest of a local improvement bond...

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3 cases
  • Longview Co. v. Lynn
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 10 décembre 1940
    ...of the guaranty fund, and that therefore the tax was self-imposed by the city of Longview, within the rule laid down in the Hallahan case, supra. It the rule that a statute passed to take effect at a later date speaks from the time it becomes operative, and not from the time of its passage.......
  • State ex rel. Washington Mut. Sav. Bank v. City of Bellingham
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 3 septembre 1935
    ... ... Tacoma, 142 Wash. 249, 252 P. 929; Hallahan v. Port ... Angeles, 161 Wash. 353, 297 P. 149; Kelly v ... Sunnyside, 168 Wash. 95, ... ...
  • Kelly v. City of Sunnyside
    • United States
    • Washington Supreme Court
    • 2 mai 1932
    ... ... Tacoma, 142 Wash. 249, 252 P. 929, 930, and Hallahan ... v. Port Angeles, 161 Wash. 353, 297 P. 149, [168 Wash ... 97] this court has ... ...

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