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WASHINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND MILDRED KLEIN, TAX ASSESSOR OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI v. GREENVILLE MILL

SEPTEMBER 07, 1983

WASHINGTON COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS AND MILDRED KLEIN, TAX ASSESSOR OF WASHINGTON COUNTY, MISSISSIPPI
v.
GREENVILLE MILL, A DIVISION OF MOHASCO CORPORATION, FRIEDMAN IRON & METAL COMPANY AND THE FRIEDMAN STEEL COMPANY



EN BANC.

WALKER, PRESIDING JUSTICE, FOR THE COURT:

This is an appeal from the Circuit Court of Washington County wherein the trial court found that the Washington County Board of Supervisors had misinterpreted section 112 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890 when establishing a tax assessment ratio of twenty-five percent of true value for personal

property and a ten percent ratio of true value for real property.

 The lower court held, as a matter of law:

 (1) Section 112 of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, as amended, requires that a taxing authority must impose the same percentage ratio of assessed value to true value to all taxable property and they may not assign a different assessment ratio to different species or classes of property.

 (2) The utilization of different ratios of assessed value to true value in regard to personal property as opposed to real property by the Washington County Tax Assessor and Board of Supervisors in 1980 is unconstitutional and in violation of section 112, as amended, of the Mississippi Constitution.

 This case raises for the Court's consideration the issue of whether the use of different assessment ratios *fn1 for different classes of property violates the" uniform and equal "clause of section 112, as amended, of the Mississippi Constitution of 1890, which reads in part:

 Taxation shall be uniform and equal throughout the state. Property shall be taxed in proportion to its value. Property shall be assessed for taxes under general laws, and by uniform rules, and in proportion to its value. . . .

 In American National Insurance Company v. Board of Supervisors of Harrison County, 303 So. 2d 457 (Miss. 1974), which involved the assessment of the real property (a shopping center) belonging to American National Insurance Company, this Court said:

 Sections 211 and 217 of the Constitution of Alabama are similar to section 112 of the Mississippi Constitution. In construing its Constitution, the Supreme Court of Alabama, in State v. Alabama Power Company, 254 Ala. 327, 48 So. 2d 445 (1950), held that railroads and public utilities could not be put in a class to themselves and their property could not be taxed on a basis different from that used for property of other taxpayers. The opinion states that all property subject to tax must be taxed uniformly or equally at the same rate and ratio of assessment no matter by whom owned. (Emphasis added).

 303 So. 2d at 459-460.

 This court reached the same conclusion in Adams v. Mississippi State Bank, 75 Miss. 701, 23 So. 395 as early as 1897. *fn2 In Adams v. Mississippi State Bank, the Court quoted with approval from the dissent of Justice Chalmers in Mississippi Mills v. Cook, 56 Miss. 40 (1878) when discussing section 112 and the relationship between the term" uniformity "and the term" equality "in said section:

 " What do they mean? The requirement of uniformity means that all property belonging to the same class shall be taxed alike - so that all horses shall be taxed at the same rate, and all lands or stocks or merchandise. There is to be no discrimination between property of the same class, and it shall not be competent to levy one rate upon country lands and another upon ...


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