State ex rel. Poulos v. State Bd. of Equalization, 18

Decision Date21 April 1975
Docket NumberNo. 18,No. 48202,18,48202
Citation552 P.2d 1134
PartiesSTATE of Oklahoma ex rel. William F. POULOS, Petitioner, Tulsa County Area Vocational-Technical School Districtet al., Intervenors, v. STATE BOARD OF EQUALIZATION, Respondent.
CourtOklahoma Supreme Court

John McCune, Tulsa, for petitioner.

Louis Levy, Tulsa, for intervenor, Tulsa County Area Vocational-Technical School District No. 18.

Fagin, Hewett, Mathews & Fagin, by Eugene Mathews, Oklahoma City, for intervenor, Oklahoma Education Assn, Inc.

Jerry L. Smith, Tulsa, for intervenor, Bruce P. Dougherty.

Larry Derryberry, Atty. Gen., by James H. Gray and Donald B. Nevard, Asst. Attys Gen., for respondent.

HODGES, Vice Chief Justice.

This is an Application to Assume Original Jurisdiction, and for a Writ of Mandamus because of the failure of the State Board of Equalization (Board) to adjust and equalize the valuation of real and personal property throughout the counties of the State of Oklahoma.

It is asserted by the petitioner that the Board has not ordered the equalization of the value of real and personal properties of the several counties since 1960, and that the Board has not complied with its clear constitutional and statutory duties since that time. The petitioner is not requesting that the Board be compelled to act in any certain manner to equalize the value of the property according to any formula. The complaint is that the Board has not taken any affirmative action, and that it is required to equalize, correct, and adjust the assessments between the counties on an annual basis.

The Oklahoma Constitution Art. 10 § 21 provides:

There shall be a State Board of Equalization consisting of the Governor, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Inspector and Examiner, and President of the Board of Agriculture. The duty of said Board shall be to adjust and equalize the valuation of real and personal property of the several counties in the State, and it shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by law, and they shall assess all railroad and public service corporation property.

This duty is likewise imposed by statute, 68 O.S.1971 § 2463:

The Governor, State Auditor, State Treasurer, Secretary of State, Attorney General, State Examiner and Inspector and President of the Board of Agriculture shall constitute the State Board of Equalization, and said State Board of Equalization must hold a session at the Capitol of the State, commencing at ten o'clock a.m. on the fourth Monday in June of each year for the purpose of equalizing the property of the several counties. The State Auditor shall, not later than the third Monday of June, notify all other members of said Board of the time and place of said annual session as herein required. The Governor shall serve as chairman and the State Auditor shall serve as secretary of said Board, and a vice-chairman shall be elected from the other members. In case of the absence or failure of said chairman and secretary, or either of them, to so act on the fourth Monday of June, any four or more members thereof shall proceed on said date to conduct the Board's session and carry on its work as herein required, provided, that any official action by said Board shall require approval by a majority of all members of the Board. It shall be the duty of said State Board to examine the various county assessments amd to equalize, correct and adjust the same as between the counties by increasing or decreasing the aggregate assessed value of the property or any class thereof, in any or all of them, to conform to the fair cash value thereof as herein defined, and to order and direct the assessment rolls of any county in this State to be so corrected as to adjust and equalize the valuation of the real and personal property of the several counties; provided, that no change in the assessed valuation of any county in this State shall be binding until ten days notice of said change shall have been given the Board of County Commissioners of said county and an opportunity given for a hearing on said change.

The legislature has recognized that a system which does not equalize ad valorem assessments throughout the state is unfair and invidiously discriminatory. It is provided by the School Code of 1971, 70 O.S.1971 § 18--102:

The Legislature recognizes that it would be unfair to the taxpaying citizens of the state to base a system of state financial aid to schools upon the amounts of local ad valorem taxes collected for education as this act does without equalizing ad valorem assessments throughout the state. It is the intention of the Legislature to equalize ad valorem assessments so that every parcel and item of taxable property in the state will be assessed at the same percentage of its fair cash value. * * *

The duties of the Board are mandatory. It is provided by 68 O.S.1971 § 2476:

The provisions of this Code relating to the duties of various officials, and the time within which such duties shall be performed, are hereby declared to be mandatory; and the...

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14 cases
  • Williams Natural Gas Co. v. State Bd. of Equalization, 84097
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • December 20, 1994
    ...emanating from the Board. See State ex rel. Poulos v. State Bd. of Equalization, 646 P.2d 1269 (1982); State ex rel. Poulos v. State Bd. of Equalization, 552 P.2d 1134 (1975). The public importance of the issues presented by this action are heightened by the adverse impact on school distric......
  • Rocky Mountain Oil and Gas Ass'n v. State Bd. of Equalization, T-I
    • United States
    • United States State Supreme Court of Wyoming
    • December 31, 1987
    ...Appeals, 175 Ohio St. 410, 195 N.E.2d 908, cert. denied 379 U.S. 818, 85 S.Ct. 35, 13 L.Ed.2d 29 (1964); State ex rel. Poulos v. State Board of Equalization, Okla., 552 P.2d 1138 (1975); and State ex rel. Poulos v. State Board of Equalization, Okla., 552 P.2d 1134 (1975). Our decision follo......
  • Fair School Finance Council of Oklahoma, Inc. v. State, 1
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • November 24, 1987
    ...10, supra.12 70 O.S.1981 § 18-104(A).13 Lawrence v. Cleveland County Home Loan Auth., Okl., 626 P.2d 314, 315 [1981].14 Okl., 552 P.2d 1134 [1975] (Poulos I ); Okl., 552 P.2d 1138 [1976] (Poulos II ) and Okl., 646 P.2d 1269 [1982] (Poulos III ).15 Okl., 610 P.2d 227 [1980].16 Poulos I, supr......
  • Oklahoma Water Resources Bd. v. Texas County Irr. and Water Resources Ass'n, Inc., 56355
    • United States
    • Supreme Court of Oklahoma
    • December 26, 1984
    ...v. State, 81 Okl. 176, 186 P. 730 (1920).5 Publici juris was recognized and utilized by this Court in State ex. rel Poulos v. State Board of Equilization, 552 P.2d 1134, 1137 (Okl.1975).6 McCracken v. City of Lawton, 648 P.2d 18, 21 (Okl.1982), and cases cited therein.7 The Oklahoma Adminis......
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