In the high-impact court case over Maryland’s county income taxes, MACo has joined with the International Municipal Lawyers Association and several other stakeholders to support a “friend of the court” brief urging the US Supreme Court to overturn state court holdings and defend county income tax structures that have been in place for decades.
The full brief from IMLA, MACo, and an impressive list of other stakeholders was submitted this week, in advance of the case being heard in the next term of the Court. The National Association of Counties, National Conference of State Legislatures, and National League of Cities all joined in the effort. One summary segment of the brief (excerpted from numbered page 6) illustrates the county argument:
In our system of federalism, each of the co-equal States is generally free to organize its affairs as its people determine through the democratic process. Indeed, deciding how to structure taxes on residents is a quintessential policy judgment for each of the several States and its subdivisions. Although the Supremacy Clause ensures that the U.S. Constitution and federal laws and treaties can trump State laws, there is no “horizontal supremacy clause” providing that one State’s lawful exercise of its jurisdiction must defer to a sister State’s exercise of jurisdiction over that same person, particularly when the person lives in the first State and merely works or invests in the other. The Maryland Court of Appeals seriously erred in misreading the Commerce Clause as a warrant to break from that constitutional tradition, and its decision should be reversed.
For more background on the Wynne case, see prior Conduit Street coverage: Supreme Court Will Hear Maryland Income Tax Case
For updates on the Supreme Court process on this case, further legal documents and filings, visit the SCOTUSblog website.