Branson v. Bush - 251 U.S. 182 (1919)
U.S. Supreme Court
Branson v. Bush, 251 U.S. 182 (1919)
Branson v. Bush
Argued November 14, 1919
Decided December 22, 1919
251 U.S. 182
A tax law of Arkansas (Acts 1911, p. 233), providing for the valuation of all the property of railroad companies, tangible and intangible, with assessment of buildings and side tracks, as real estate, in the town or district where located, and of main line, also as real estate, to be apportioned according to actual mileage in each town or district, declares that the franchises of such companies, "other than the right to be a corporation," are property, and "shall be considered" in assessing their property. Held that this does not necessarily import an addition of franchise value, viewed as personal property, to the assessment of tracks and buildings in a particular district, but requires these to be assessed at their value as realty, but having regard to their use as part of a railroad, and that a special improvement tax, based on an assessment presumably so made, cannot be declared invalid upon the ground of being so unequal, compared with assessments on other real estate of the district, as to violate the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. P. 251 U. S. 185.
A legislative determination that lands will be benefited by a public improvement for which a special tax is authorized is conclusive unless it is arbitrary and wholly unwarranted. P. 251 U. S. 189.
A declaration by a state legislature that real estate of a railroad company, consisting of main and side tracks and buildings in a road improvement district, will be benefited by a road improvement is not arbitrary or unwarranted where there is reasonable ground for concluding that the railroad's traffic will thereby be increased. P. 251 U. S. 190.
248 F. 377 reversed.
The case is stated in the opinion.