Bradley attorney Bruce Ely was quoted in State Tax Notes on the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals’ opinion that while Alabama had violated the Railroad Revitalization and Regulatory Reform Act of 1976, the state should have some discretion in remedying the discrimination. Ely explained that the “new ruling and its suggestion of possible remedies puts the state in somewhat of a Catch-22.”
“If the State Legislature chooses to start taxing water carriers, does the state open itself up to the legal challenges that the state admits, and the district court agreed, might be winners for the water carriers? Or does the state exempt the railroads’ purchase of diesel fuel from sales and use tax – surely a substantial revenue loss for both state AND local governments,” Ely said.
Ely added that another question is how to calculate the railroads’ refund if this is the final order. “If the discrimination was suffered only at the hands of the water carriers, which surely are a relatively insignificant competitor, do the railroads receive a reduced refund?”
The complete article, “Eleventh Circuit Says Alabama Should Have Discretion to Remedy Fuel Tax Discrimination,” appeared in State Tax Notes on April 27, 2018. (login required)