Robinson v. Norfolk

Citation60 S.E. 762, 108 Va. 14
Case DateMarch 12, 1908
CourtSupreme Court of Virginia

60 S.E. 762
108 Va. 14

ROBINSON .
v.
CITY OP NORFOLK.

Supreme Court of Appeals of Virginia.

March 12, 1908.


1. Taxation — Constitutional Provisions— "Territorial Limits."

In the Constitution dividing the state into counties and magisterial districts, cities, and towns, and fixing the "territorial limits" of each, making them distinct and separate from each other for the purpose of taxation, the words "territorial limits" mean the actual boundaries of each of such subdivisions as the same are fixed by law.

2. Same—Territorial Limitations.

One subdivision of the state cannot be taxed for the benefit of another.

3. Licenses — Power to Require — Revenue or Police Purposes.

Where any imposition is laid on persons or property under a general taxing ordinance, the only conclusion that can be drawn is that such tax is laid for revenue purposes alone, unless the contrary is made clearly to appear, and, to construe a general taxing ordinance as a police ordinance, it must be shown that the tax collected thereunder is devoted to the expense incident to carrying out its provisions.

4. Theaters and Shows — Regulation—License — Power to Require — Territorial Limits.

Code 1887, § 1032 [Va. Code 1904, p. 487], providing that the jurisdiction of the corporate authorities of each town and city in criminal matters and for imposing and collecting a license tax on all shows, performances, and exhibitions shall extend one mile beyond the corporate limits of such town or city, is invalid in so far as it authorizes a city to levy a license tax on a circus exhibiting beyond its territorial limits for the sole purpose of raising revenue to defray the general expenses of such city.

Appeal from Law and Chancery Court of City of Norfolk.

Action by the city of Norfolk against John F. Robinson to collect a license tax. From a judgment for plaintiff, defendant appeals. Reversed.

Jas. F. Duncan, for appellant.

Loyall & Taylor, for appellee.

HARRISON, J. This action of trespass on the case in assumpsit involves the right of the city of Norfolk to assess a circus with a license tax; that is, exhibiting beyond the territorial limits of the city, but within one mile of such limits.

The facts agreed of record are as follows: "That John F. Robinson gave a circus performance on September 16, 1906, wholly within the county of Norfolk, within one mile of the corporate limits of the city of Norfolk, but the territorial limits of the city of Norfolk do not extend to the locality where said performance was given. That no parade in said city was given. That this suit is brought to collect a license tax imposed by the city of Norfolk under section 55 of an ordinance of the city of Norfolk adopted by the select and common councils of said city on the 10th and 14th of April, 1906, and approved by the mayor April 21, 1906. That such parts of the charter and ordinances of the city of Norfolk as are pertinent to the subject-matter hereof shall be admissible. That the license tax authorized and collected by section 55 above is not applied to the special object of defraying the expenses incident to the police or other protection furnished circus performances, but to the general expenses of the city.

"That the said John F. Robinson paid the license tax in the county of Norfolk imposed by the state of Virginia.

"That the decision in this suit shall determine the issue in the suit of the City of Norfolk v. Barnum & Bailey, Limited, pending in this court"

The whole matter of law and fact was heard and determined by the court, and judgment rendered in favor of the city for the tax assessed, with interest and costs.

This demand of the city is in pursuance of section 55 of its general tax ordinance, imposing taxes upon property, persons, and licenses for all city purposes; and is as follows:

"Sec. 55. Circuses or menageries, within the city or within one mile of the boundary thereof, for every twenty-four hours or part thereof, including one parade, $350.00 each, and for each parade of a circus or menagerie, not included in the above, $350.00. Side shows, for each tent, within the city, or within one mile of the boundary thereof, $25.00 for every twenty-four hours or part thereof."

The city of Norfolk relies upon section 1032 of the Code as its authority for this ordinance and the assessment of the license tax therein provided for. That section is as follows:

"The jurisdiction of the corporate authorities of each town or city, in criminal matters

[60 S.E. 763]

and for Imposing and collecting a license tax on all shows, performances, and exhibitions, shall extend one mile beyond the corporate limits of such town or city."

The payment of this tax is resisted by the defendant as an unwarranted and invalid exercise of the taxing power by the city of Norfolk.

For the purposes of taxation, the Constitution has divided the state into counties and magisterial districts, cities, and towns. Each of these subdivisions has its territorial limits fixed; each being distinct and separate from the other. What is meant by the words "territorial limits, " in section 168 of the Constitution [Va. Code 1904, p. cclxii], is the actual boundaries of each of such subdivisions, as the same are fixed by law....

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29 practice notes
  • Reynolds v. Milk Comm'n Of Va.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • March 29, 1935
    ...a revenue measure. It is merely incident to the regulation, and is proper under the police power of the state. Robinson v. City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S. E. 762, 15 L. R. A. (N. S.) 294, 128 Am. St. Rep. 934; Phoebus v. Manhattan Social Club, 105 Va. 144, 52 S. E. 839, 8 Ann. Cas. 667; ......
  • Reynolds v. Milk Commission
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • March 29, 1935
    ...a revenue measure. It is merely incident to the regulation, and is proper under the police power of the State. Robinson City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R.A.(N.S.) 294, 128 Am.St.Rep. 934; Phoebus Manhattan Social Club, 105 Va. 144, 52 S.E. 839, 8 Ann.Cas. 667; 26 R.C.L. pp. 2......
  • The Best Foods, Inc. v. Christensen, 4961
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 6, 1930
    ...on Municipal Corporations, § 991; Royall v. State of Virginia, 116 U.S. 572, 6 S.Ct. 510, 29 L.Ed. 735, page 737; Robinson v. Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R.A. (N.S.) 294, page 299, 128 Am. St. Rep. 934; Waters-Pierce Oil Company v. City of Hot Springs, 85 Ark. 509, 109 S.W. 293, ......
  • Spencer v. Md. Jockey Club of Baltimore City, No. 91.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 22, 1939
    ...Co. v. Knoxville, 136 Tenn. 253, 256, 188 S.W. 798; Taylor v. Chandler, 9 Heisk., Tenn., 349, 24 Am. Rep. 308; Robinson v. City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R. A.,N.S., 294, 128 Am.St.Rep. 934; Berry v. Fox, 114 W.Va. 513, 172 S.E. 896; Newman v. Schlarb, 184 Wash. 147, 50 P.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results
28 cases
  • Reynolds v. Milk Comm'n Of Va.
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • March 29, 1935
    ...a revenue measure. It is merely incident to the regulation, and is proper under the police power of the state. Robinson v. City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S. E. 762, 15 L. R. A. (N. S.) 294, 128 Am. St. Rep. 934; Phoebus v. Manhattan Social Club, 105 Va. 144, 52 S. E. 839, 8 Ann. Cas. 667; ......
  • Reynolds v. Milk Commission
    • United States
    • Virginia Supreme Court of Virginia
    • March 29, 1935
    ...a revenue measure. It is merely incident to the regulation, and is proper under the police power of the State. Robinson City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R.A.(N.S.) 294, 128 Am.St.Rep. 934; Phoebus Manhattan Social Club, 105 Va. 144, 52 S.E. 839, 8 Ann.Cas. 667; 26 R.C.L. pp. 2......
  • The Best Foods, Inc. v. Christensen, 4961
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Utah
    • February 6, 1930
    ...on Municipal Corporations, § 991; Royall v. State of Virginia, 116 U.S. 572, 6 S.Ct. 510, 29 L.Ed. 735, page 737; Robinson v. Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R.A. (N.S.) 294, page 299, 128 Am. St. Rep. 934; Waters-Pierce Oil Company v. City of Hot Springs, 85 Ark. 509, 109 S.W. 293, ......
  • Spencer v. Md. Jockey Club of Baltimore City, No. 91.
    • United States
    • Court of Appeals of Maryland
    • February 22, 1939
    ...Co. v. Knoxville, 136 Tenn. 253, 256, 188 S.W. 798; Taylor v. Chandler, 9 Heisk., Tenn., 349, 24 Am. Rep. 308; Robinson v. City of Norfolk, 108 Va. 14, 60 S.E. 762, 15 L.R. A.,N.S., 294, 128 Am.St.Rep. 934; Berry v. Fox, 114 W.Va. 513, 172 S.E. 896; Newman v. Schlarb, 184 Wash. 147, 50 P.2d......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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