On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit ruled that the federal district court had jurisdiction to adjudicate a case involving the constitutionality and validity of a levy imposed on a single entity. GenOn Mid-Atlantic, LLC v. Montgomery Cty., No. 10-1882 (4th Cir. June 20, 2011). In response to the Fourth Circuit’s decision, Montgomery County enacted legislation repealing the levy and providing a full refund—with interest—to the fee payer.

The GenOn case involved legislation that Montgomery County enacted in 2010, which imposed a $5 per ton levy on “major emitters” of carbon dioxide emissions. Montgomery County set the emissions threshold for a “major emitter” to include only those entities emitting more than one million tons of carbon dioxide during the year. The County also structured the levy such that once major emitters exceeded one million tons of carbon dioxide emissions, they were required to pay the levy retroactively on each ton of emissions, going back to the first ton emitted. As a result, GenOn was the only entity subject to the levy and was subject to the levy on every ton of carbon dioxide emitted.Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Emits Good News! Federal Court Retains Jurisdiction over Levy Imposed on a Single Entity

It appears that the state tax world is not immune to the scandal involving former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. On March 2, 2011, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued its ruling in Empress Casino Joliet Corp. v. Blagojevich, Nos. 09-3975 and 10-1019 (7th Cir. 2011), holding that the Tax Injunction Act (TIA) does not bar four riverboat casinos from challenging casino surcharges paid into the Illinois Horse Racing Equity Trust Fund because such payments were fees rather than taxes and not subject to the TIA.Continue Reading You’re Not Fired! Tax Injunction Act Does Not Bar Federal Court Review of Blagojevich-Era Legislation