QUINCY V. JACKSON, 113 U. S. 332 (1885)

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U.S. Supreme Court

Quincy v. Jackson, 113 U.S. 332 (1885)

Quincy v. Jackson

Submitted January 9, 1885

Decided February 2, 1885

113 U.S. 332


A provision in a city charter which confers power on the city council to levy and collect taxes annually on real and personal property, to pay debts and meet the general expenses of the city not exceeding fifty cents on each hundred dollars, relates only to debts and expenses for ordinary municipal purposes, and not to those debts and expenses which can be incurred only by special legislative authority.

An act authorizing a municipal corporation to incur a debt for the purpose of subscribing to the stock of a railroad company confers authority to levy taxes for the payment of the debt in excess of limit of taxation authorized by law for ordinary municipal purposes. United States v. Macon County, 99 U. S. 582, distinguished from this case.

Defendant in error petitioned below for mandamus against the Mayor and Aldermen of the City of Quincy, the plaintiffs in error, to compel the levy of a tax to pay a judgment recovered against the city.

The material allegations of the petition were that the judgment was had upon certain coupons of certain bonds of said city, duly issued by the city in payment of its subscription to the capital stock of the Mississippi and Missouri River Air Line Railroad Company. That said bonds recited that they were issued under an order of the city council, passed August 7, 1868, and an act of the General Assembly of the State of Illinois approved March 27, 1869, legalizing the act of the said City of Quincy in voting said subscription. That there were no funds in the city treasury of said city to pay said judgment. That the special charter of said city, as amended in 1863 by the act of the legislature of said state, provided that there should be levied on all real and personal property within the limits of said city, to pay the debts and meet the general expenses of said city, not exceeding fifty cents on each $100 per annum, on the annual assessed value thereof. That the legislature of said state in 1881 gave said city power to levy on all its taxable property for all purposes other than for schools and

Page 113 U. S. 333

the interest on its registered bonds, not exceeding in any year the rate of one percent of the equalized assessed valuation of such taxable property. That the revenues of said city from every source for the year ending March 31, 1885, after paying the necessary running expenses of said city, and the sum of $20,000, and the surplus above the running expenses of said city upon certain other judgments, in pursuance of certain mandamus writs, would not be sufficient to pay relator's judgment, and that the relator was without remedy except by writ of mandamus. The defendants demurred by general demurrer. The demurrer being overruled, the defendants elected to abide by it and the writ of mandamus issued as prayed for. This writ of error was brought to reverse that judgment.

Page 113 U. S. 335

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