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Old November 15, 2012, 10:12 AM   #11
Mike Irwin
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Join Date: April 13, 2000
Location: Northern Virginia
Posts: 35,702
"Actually, the Minneapolis Star Tribune case implies that it is not lawful."

Note the reason why the court found the tax to be unconstitutional.

Had the tax applied to all print industries, or even to all newspapers, not just a select group of newspapers inside the newspaper industry, it's very likely that it would have been found to be legal.

As it was, the newsprint and ink tax created a special taxing category inside of an industry group.

On point hypothetical examples...

New tax on all firearms transactions of $5.

Constitutional or Unconstitutional?

Likely Constitutional becuase everyone pays it.


New tax on all firearms transactions -- $0 for white men, $2.50 for white women, $5 for hispanics, and $50 for African Americans.

Constitutional or Unconstitutional?

Very likely unconstitutional as hell on a number of levels, but the concept would be the same as it was for the Minneapolis Star Tribune case -- you can't create special taxation classes within a core group without some seriously good reasons.


A close corollary is the "Is it legal for a municipality to require an assembly permit and fee for demonstrations" question/argument.

That one has gone to court a number of times over the years and pretty uniformly the permits and fees have been found to be Constitutional because they are not structured in a way that they infringe on a group's rights.
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