Plaintiffs, appellees in this court, while engaged in the construction of a federal dam, brought into the state machinery purchased at retail in other states. The Washington Tax Commission demanded payment of a use tax on the machinery so purchased as required by the 1935 tax statutes. The plaintiffs refused to comply with the commission's order and received an in junction in the federal district court. The Washington legislature, under the heading "Compensating Tax," levied a two per cent excise on the use of all personal property purchased at retail after the effective date, the tax to be measured by the purchase price. It was enacted in conjunction with the state sales tax and did not apply to articles which already had been subject to a tax equal to or in excess of the current impost "whether under the laws of this state or of some other state of the United States." Held, this was a tax upon the privilege of use after commerce was at an end. Nor was the tax so measured or conditioned as to discriminate against interstate commerce. The sale concluded in foreign states merely furnished a convenient basis for measuring the value of the use. Henneford v. Silas Mason Co., (U. S. 1937) 57 S. Ct. 524.
William J. Isaacson,
CONSTITUTIONAL LAW - VALIDITY OF A COMPENSATING USE TAX - COMMERCE CLAUSE,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol35/iss8/19