In Northern Natural Gas Co. v. State Board of Equalization and Assessment, the Nebraska Supreme Court held that the state could not constitutionally tax the personal property of one taxpayer while exempting the personal property of other taxpayers. Specifically, the court held that pipelines were entitled to an exemption of their personal property because the personal property of railroads and car-lines had been exempted from taxation pursuant to the provisions of the Railroad revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976 (the 4-R Act), which requires that the railroad and car-line property be taxed in the same way as other commercial and industrial property in the state. This article first examines the court’s reasoning and concludes that the decision rests on principles of both state and Federal law. Next, the article addresses the relationship between the Nebraska court’s holding and the provisions of the 4-R Act requiring that railroad property be taxed in the same way as other commercial and industrial property in the state. Finally, the article considers the options available to Nebraska in light of the court’s decision.
Equal Protection Run Amok? An Analysis of the Nebraska Supreme Court's Decision in the Northern Natural Gas Case
Available at: http://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/fac_artchop/868