Trimble v. Seattle - 231 U.S. 683 (1914)
U.S. Supreme Court
Trimble v. Seattle, 231 U.S. 683 (1914)
Trimble v. Seattle
Argued December 9, 1913.-Decided January 5, 1914
231 U.S. 683
The state court having declared the policy of the state as excluding a constructive obligation to indemnify against the exercise of the sovereign power of taxation from leases given by the state, this Court will not overthrow it.
In ordinary cases of leased property, whether the lessor or lessee shall bear the burden of taxation is not a matter of public concern, but an obligation not to tax property leased by the state is a restriction of public import not lightly to be imposed.
In this case, held that the imposing of assessments for benefits on property in Seattle leased by the Washington is not an unconstitutional impairment of an implied covenant in the lease that the lessor will pay assessments.
Whether landlords or tenants shall pay taxes and assessments on leased property is a matter of private arrangement, and compelling tenants of the state to pay them does not deny them equal protection of the law because there may be a practice the other way in private leases. Quaere whether exemption from taxation would not create a favored class, and thus deny equal protection to other property owners.
When an interest in land, whether freehold or for years, passes from the public domain into private hands, there is a natural implication that it goes with the ordinary incidents of private property, and subject to be taxed. New York ex Rel. Metropolitan Street Ry. v. Tax Commissioners, 199 U. S. 1.
64 Wash. 10 affirmed.
The facts, which involve the validity of assessments on lands leased by the City of Seattle to the plaintiffs in error, are stated in the opinion.