GPO-CONAN-2017-10-15.pdf

406 or where a state statute authorizes municipal au

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406 Or, where a state statute authorizes municipal au- thorities to define the district to be benefitted by a street improvement and to assess the cost of the improvement upon the property within the district in proportion to benefits, their action in establishing the district and in fixing the assessments on included property, cannot, if not arbitrary or fraudulent, be reviewed under the Fourteenth Amendment upon the ground that other property benefitted by the improvement was not included. 407 On the other hand, when the benefit to be derived by a rail- road from the construction of a highway will be largely offset by the loss of local freight and passenger traffic, an assessment upon 402 Puget Sound Co. v. Seattle, 291 U.S. 619 (1934). 403 New York Tel. Co. v. Dolan, 265 U.S. 96 (1924). 404 Nashville, C. & St. L. Ry. v. Browning, 310 U.S. 362 (1940). 405 Paddell v. City of New York, 211 U.S. 446 (1908). 406 Hagar v. Reclamation Dist., 111 U.S. 701 (1884). 407 Butters v. City of Oakland, 263 U.S. 162 (1923). It is also proper to impose a special assessment for the preliminary expenses of an abandoned road improve- ment, even though the assessment exceeds the amount of the benefit which the as- sessors estimated the property would receive from the completed work. Missouri Pa- cific R.R. v. Road District, 266 U.S. 187 (1924). See also Roberts v. Irrigation Dist., 289 U.S. 71 (1933) (an assessment to pay the general indebtedness of an irrigation district is valid, even though in excess of the benefits received). Likewise a levy upon all lands within a drainage district of a tax of twenty-five cents per acre to defray preliminary expenses does not unconstitutionally take the property of landowners within that district who may not be benefitted by the completed drainage plans. Houck v. Little River Dist., 239 U.S. 254 (1915). 1909 AMENDMENT 14—RIGHTS GUARANTEED
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such railroad violates due process, 408 whereas any gains from in- creased traffic reasonably expected to result from a road improve- ment will suffice to sustain an assessment thereon. 409 Also the fact that the only use made of a lot abutting on a street improvement is for a railway right of way does not make invalid, for lack of ben- efits, an assessment thereon for grading, curbing, and paving. 410 How- ever, when a high and dry island was included within the boundar- ies of a drainage district from which it could not be benefitted directly or indirectly, a tax imposed on the island land by the district was held to be a deprivation of property without due process of law. 411 Finally, a state may levy an assessment for special benefits result- ing from an improvement already made 412 and may validate an as- sessment previously held void for want of authority. 413 Jurisdiction to Tax Generally. —The operation of the Due Process Clause as a ju- risdictional limitation on the taxing power of the states has been an issue in a variety of different contexts, but most involve one of two basic questions. First, is there a sufficient relationship be- tween the state exercising taxing power and the object of the exer- cise of that power? Second, is the degree of contact sufficient to jus- tify the state’s imposition of a particular obligation? Illustrative of
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