States brief ~ NC appeals court rules tax increase law constitutional

[JURIST] Leading Tuesday's states brief, a North Carolina appeals court ruled [text] today that a September 2001 state law that raised income taxes on top-wage earners to 8.25% for the entire year is constitutional. Plaintiffs argued that the law [text] amounted to a retroactive tax in violation of the state constitution because they had already paid taxes through employee withholdings or estimated payments. The majority found the tax was not retroactive because the income tax owed by individuals does not become final until the end of the tax year. The increase was to last for two years, but after subsequent renewals the tax extends through 2007. AP has more.

In other state legal news ...

  • The Ohio Supreme Court has announced [case announcement] that it will review an appeals court ruling [PDF text] upholding a municipality's authority to take property for commercial development. Homeowners contend that the city is misusing its eminent domain power. An attorney for the Institute of Justice [Institute press release] said the decision will be closely watched as this is one of the first major state court cases after the US Supreme Court's decision in Kelo v. New London [JURIST report]. The Senate State and Local Government Committee was expected to approve a bill today that would freeze any eminent domain actions that place private developers in control of land until 2006. AP has more.

  • A Washington Court of Appeals has ruled [text] that the names of teachers accused of sexual misconduct must be released to the public, even if the claims are unsubstantiated, but school districts do not have the release the names of teachers who were falsely accused. Judge Mary Kay Becker wrote that unsubstantiated claims are different from false claims in that unsubstantiated claims are ones in which "a firm conclusion cannot be made." The Seattle Times [newspaper website] was seeking sexual misconduct records, including teacher's names, for a story when several teachers filed injunctions against the school districts to prevent the release of the records. The Seattle Times has local coverage.

 

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