Welch v. Cook
APPEAL from the Supreme Court of the District of Columbia.
On the 26th of June, 1873, the legislative assembly of the District of Columbia enacted that 'all property, real and personal, which may hereafter be actually employed within the limits of the District of Columbia for manufacturing purposes, shall be exempt from all general taxes for a period of ten years from the date of this act going into effect: Provided, that the value of the property so employed for manufacturing purposes shall not be less than $5,000.' Laws Dist. of Col. 126.
The fourth section of the act of Congress approved June 20, 1874 (18 Stat. 117), enacts as follows:--
'That for the support of the government of the District of Columbia, and maintaining the credit thereof, for the fiscal year ending June 30, 1875, there shall be levied on all real estate in said District, except that belonging to the United States and to the District of Columbia, and that used for educational and charitable purposes, the following taxes, namely.'
Under this act the commissioners of the District assessed, for the taxes for the year ending June, 1875, certain real property of Welch within the District, which was employed for manufacturing purposes, and was of the value of $5,000.
His bill of complaint alleges that one faith of the above act of the legislative assembly he expended large sums of money in improving his said property; that, in pursuance of the said act, the commissioners exempted it from the taxes of the year ending June, 1874, but are now about to sell it for the taxes of 1875, and that these proceedings cast a cloud upon his title. He asks for a perpetual injunction to restrain the collection of these taxes, and for such other relief as may be necessary.
To this bill the defendants, who are the tax-collector and the commissioners of the District, demurred. The demurrer was sustained at the special term of the Supreme Court of the District, which action having been affirmed at the general term, Welch appealed to this court.
Mr. Philip Phillips and Mr. William A. Maury for the appellant.
Mr. Albert G. Riddle, contra.
MR. JUSTICE HUNT, after stating the case, delivered the opinion of the court.