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Susquehanna Power Co. v. State Tax Comm'n, 283 U.S. 291 (1931)

Susquehanna Power Company v.

State Tax Commission of Maryland

No. 368

Argued March 19, 20, 1931

Decided April 13, 1931

283 U.S. 291


1. A hydroelectric power company, acting under a license from the Federal Power Commission, erected a dam across the Susquehanna River (here assumed to be navigable) and established an adjacent power plant. As part of the project, it acquired the lands, partly in the river bed and partly adjoining upland, which were submerged by the pool created by the dam. Held, that the company and its property are not such agencies or instrumentalities of the federal government that the lands are immune from state taxation. P. 283 U. S. 293.

2. The exemption of an instrumentality of one government (state or federal) from taxation by the other must be given such practical construction as will not unduly impair the taxing power of the government imposing the tax or the appropriate exercise of its functions by the other government. P. 283 U. S. 294.

3. Where a privilege or franchise is granted by the federal government to a private corporation to effect some governmental purpose, the property owned and used by the grantee in the exercise of the privilege, but for its private business advantage, is subject to state taxation. P. 283 U. S. 294.

4. In taxing submerged lands of a licensee under the Federal Water Power Act, the state may extend the assessment to the increased value that they have acquired as part of the licensed project, though this is made possible only by the federal license and the use of the water of a navigable stream. P. 283 U. S. 295.

159 Md. 334, 151 A. 29, affirmed.

Appeal from a judgment sustaining an assessment of lands by the Tax Commission.

Page 283 U. S. 292

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