For the prosecutor, Edward Schwartz, pro se.
For the respondents Flint & Fulton, Inc., Feldman Bros. Co., Anna Myers Pure Foods, Inc., Hobart, Minard & Cooper (Duane E. Minard and G. Addison Hobart, of counsel).
For the respondent Merchants Refrigerating Co., Mark A. Sullivan.
For the respondents Atlantic Terminals, Inc., and Weyer-haeuser Timber Company, McCarter, English & Egner (Conover English, of counsel).
For Lehigh Warehouse & Transportation Co. and Lackawanna Warehouse, Inc., amici curiae, John H. Yauch, Jr. (Maximilian M. Stallman, of counsel).
Before Justices Case, Donges and Colie.
The opinion of the court was delivered by
COLIE, J. Edward Schwartz, a taxpayer in the City of Newark, instituted proceedings before the Essex County Board of Taxation pursuant to R.S. 54:3-20, the applicable part of which reads as follows: "On the written complaint of the collector, or any taxpayer of the taxing district or of the governing body thereof, that property specified has been omitted in the assessment, the county board, on five days' notice in writing to the owner by the party complaining, and after due examination and hearing, may enter the omitted property on the duplicate by judgment rendered within ten days after the hearing, a transcript whereof shall be furnished by the board to the collector, who shall amend his duplicate accordingly." The complaint and petition filed by the prosecutor set forth that Anna Myers Pure Foods, Inc., Flint & Fulton, Inc., Tennert Orchards, Inc., and Feldman Bros. Co. each had personal property of a substantial value during the year preceding October 1st, 1940, in the warehouse of Merchants Refrigerating Company located in the City of Newark and that the property owned by the above named corporations was wholly omitted from the tax list and duplicate filed by the City of Newark for the year 1941. The petition then prays that the omitted property be added to the list of taxable property. The County Board of Taxation dismissed the petition on the ground that the merchandise so stored with the Merchants Refrigerating Company was exempt from taxation by virtue of R.S. 54:4-3.20 reading: "All personal property stored in a warehouse of any person, copartnership or corporation engaged in the business of storing goods for hire shall be exempt from taxation under this chapter." A writ of certiorari was allowed to review the aforementioned action of the County Board of Taxation. By order of the court, Anna Myers Pure Foods, Inc., Flint & Fulton, Inc., Tennert Orchards, Inc., and Feldman Bros. Co.
were made respondents to the writ of certiorari and thereafter the court permitted Atlantic Terminals, Inc., Weyerhaeuser Timber Co. and Merchants Refrigerating Company to intervene as respondents. Later, Lehigh Warehouse & Transportation Co. and Lackawanna Warehouse Co., Inc., were permitted to file briefs as amici curiae.
The basic question for determination is whether the provisions of R.S. 54:4-3.20 violate article 4, section 7, paragraphs 11 and 12 of the State Constitution and the ...