HUP HUP, HIKE: Non-Charities Shall Owe Taxes

This is what was just decided:

The majority of the Court in Bobov stated that the “General Assembly cannot displace our interpretation of the Constitution” and rejected the argument that the Court should defer to the General Assembly’s definition of “purely public charity.” (Saul Ewing, LLP)

And now:

The Senate, in a 30-20 vote, approved a proposed state constitutional amendment declaring the General Assembly has the exclusive role to set standards to determine which institutions are purely a public charity. The measure now goes to the House. (RH/TS, Robert Swift)

Sounds a bit like the backlash against property reassessments. (AUDIO)

It’s just a matter of preference, citizens of Pennsylvania. Who would you rather be in charge of determining what is a “Charity”: the legislature or the judiciary? Who do you trust to be more finally in charge “Free speech”? “Bear arms?” “Equal protection?”

The politicians, or the justices in black robes? Which is more likely to give a clear answer, that makes sense?

And it’s not as though taxing bodies and local governments can’t offer tax credits, for all sorts of commerce and activities for which it feels an air of mutual charity. Call it development if that’s what it is.

5 thoughts on “HUP HUP, HIKE: Non-Charities Shall Owe Taxes

  1. Shawn Carter

    Since the Court feels this way, I'll stick with the Court for now. As a practical matter, however, the Legislature is easier to turn over than the Court.

    Ask me when Corbett nominates Justice Joan Orie Melvin's successor on the High Court.

  2. Bram Reichbaum

    Shawn – Stare decisis. Another advantage of the Court: scores of decades of jurisprudence, and more stability. Less turnover and less need for turnover, because at the end of the day, groups of justices tend to interpret the law pretty acceptably. That's why we put them there.

    A “practical” man wants a new fight over it every five or ten years? Well, I say that's kooky.

  3. Shawn Carter

    Even stare decisis must give way to political considerations on a Court where the justices are elected by popular vote, and do not have lifetime appointments.

    Probably why the previous four governors of this great Commonwealth are advocating for merit selection of judges.

    And, like it or not, the issue that prompted the Bobov suit (Act 55 of 1997) will be decided by the voters, likely in November 2015, at the ballot.

    And maybe that is our lift, our challenge, to convince 3 million of our fellow residents to vote down the proposed Constitutional amendment and resolve, permanently, this issue.

    Shall we agree to work together on this critical issue.

  4. Bram Reichbaum

    I think I agree, the US and Pa Constitutions and centuries of jurisprudence are clear about most aspects of gun control… But I'm not convinced Lost and Stolen isn't the appropriate place to be testing the cultural assumptions regularly.


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