East St. Louis v. Amy - 120 U.S. 600 (1887)
U.S. Supreme Court
East St. Louis v. Amy, 120 U.S. 600 (1887)
East St. Louis v. Amy
Submitted January 7, 1857
Decided March 14, 1887
120 U.S. 600
The charter of East St. Louis, in Illinois, which went into effect March 26, 1869, authorized it to borrow money not exceeding $100,000, and limited its power of special taxation to pay interest and provide a sinking fund to three mills on the dollar of the assessment. The Constitution of Illinois, which took effect August 8, 1870, forbade municipal corporations in the state from incurring indebtedness to an amount exceeding five percent on the value of the taxable property, including existing debt, and required them to provide for the collection of an annual tax sufficient to pay the interest on the debt as it falls due and to pay and discharge the principal within twenty years from the time of its contraction. The City of East St. Louis was in debt when this constitution took effect, and contracted other obligations after that time, but not in excess of the amount named in the charter, and imposed a tax of three mills to meet the debt as required by the charter, but failed for a series of years to collect a tax as directed by the constitution. On an application for mandamus to compel the collection of the latter tax, held that the constitution removed from the charter the limitation upon the power of the council to tax for the payment of any bonded indebtedness which might thereafter be incurred, and imposed upon the corporation the duty of collecting sufficient to pay the interest as it fell due, and the principal within twenty years, and that it was within the discretion of the court whether to order a single levy to meet all past due obligations under this dead, or more than one levy if only one appeared to be oppressive.
Mandamus to enforce the collection of a tax upon a municipal corporation. Judgment for the relator. The corporation sued out this writ of error. The case is stated in the opinion of the Court.