White Goss litigation partner Mary Jo Shaney along with her team Jim Bowers and Dan Goldberg won a significant case in the Kansas Court of Appeals on July 2, 2015. The Court of Appeals held that a City of Mission, Kansas “transportation utility fee” was in fact an illegal excise tax, and declared the fee “banned as unlawful and void.” In so holding, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court which in 2013 upheld the fee as lawful, even after determining it was a tax.
The City of Mission enacted the illegal fee in 2010 and assessed it against owners of developed property in the City of Mission to help pay for street repair and other street-related infrastructure. The City claimed it had the power to enact the fee – even if it was a tax – under its home rule powers. The Court disagreed and found that the City had exceeded its home rule authority.
The Court of Appeals remanded the case for further consideration by the trial court, which would include whether the City must refund the fees now determined to have been paid under an illegal tax. The decision could be appealed.
White Goss represented the Heartland Apartment Association, the Building Owners and Managers Association of Kansas City, among multiple other businesses and individuals owning property in the City of Mission.
You can link to the case through http://www.kscourts.org/Cases-and-Opinions/opinions/CtApp/2015/20150702/111521.pdf