Trucking is subject to state police powers under Tenn. Code Ann. § Title 55, motor and other vehicles. City police and county sheriffs, however, enforce that law despite indications in the statute that the Tennessee highway patrol has exclusive jurisdiction. (Photo Kenco)
Kenco is a major logistics company in Chattanooga. (Photo Kenco)

Private use of roads is not taxable and under law free. But commercial use is taxable and subject to police power.

If the driver license is a taxable privilege, then police activity against travelers is tax and privilege enforcement. Are there limits? Are there orders of delegated authority to municipal cops for this activity? How do cops exercise a state tax power? These questions are those I want to answer.

By David Tulis / NoogaRadio 92.7 FM

Other questions over these longstanding abuse by LEOs of the people: Shouldn’t all traffic cases against licensees be handled administratively (civilly, in agency), not judicially (as crimes, in sessions and criminal court)?

Here are several points of law that suggest that transportation is taxable, that roads are free for all except people in transportation, and that transport refers to the paid movement of people or goods.

Roads are ‘free’

➤ Roads are not taxable, as they serve the public interest. “All roads, streets, alleys, and promenades where legally dedicated and thrown open for public travel or use free of charge shall be exempt from taxation.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-204. Public ways. (Emphasis added) If it’s free for public travel, no one can demand you obtain a state privilege (driver license) to be there in your private car, aka “chattel property” (pursuant to the uniform commercial code).

➤  Goods in a warehouse are not taxable because they are not within the state, but in a state of transport and movement. “Tangible personal property that: (1)  Is moving in interstate commerce through or over the territory of this state; or (2)  Was consigned to a warehouse within this state from outside this state, for storage, in transit, to a final destination, whether specified when transportation begins or afterwards, that is also outside this state, shall be deemed not to have acquired a situs in this state for purposes of ad valorem taxation.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-5-217. Transportation, again, is commercial travel. Items in commercial travel not taxed ad valorem.

Goods in commerce

The following two points are of value marginally — they are about the movement of goods, and when they stop dashing about in commerce and come to rest — what happens?

➤  When tangible personal property comes to rest after movement in commerce, it “become[s] a part of the mass of property in this state” and thus taxable. “ is the intention of this chapter to levy a tax on the sale at retail, the use, the consumption, the distribution, and the storage to be used or consumed in this state of tangible personal property after it has come to rest in this state and has become a part of the mass of property in this state.” [Emphasis added.) Tenn. Code Ann. § 67-6-211. Property no longer in interstate commerce. 

➤  Transportation is unmistakeably a regulable activity in tax law. Taxable objects don’t lose taxable status just because they are moving across the state in transportation. Rulings make clear that Tennessee government cannot tax interstate commerce.

But it can tax objects and property in intrastate commerce. Transporting goods from one point in a state to another point in the same state, even though the carrier does cross over the state line, does not make such a transaction interstate commerce (and thus not subject to tax). The case is General Electric Co. v. Butler, 211 Tenn. 196, S.W. 2d 361, 1962, Tenn. LEXIS 356 (1962)   

Privilege gives target for tax man

➤  The privilege of operating a motor vehicle exists so that the activity of commercial travel may be taxed. If indeed the defense of private travel fends off claims of taxation and regulation, it’s worth looking at limits on tax authority. “In revenue cases doubtful language should be resolved in favor of the taxpayer although the reverse is true in construction of exceptions and exemptions. Morton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. McFarland, 212 Tenn. 168, 268 S.W.2d 756, 1963 Tenn. LEXIS 409 (1963). Tax statutes will not be extended by implication beyond the clear import of the language used and their operation will not be enlarged soas to embrace persons or matters not specifically named or pointed out. Morton Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. McFarland, 212 Tenn. 168, 268 S.W.2d 756, 1963 Tenn. LEXIS 409 (1963). Young Sales Corp v. Benson, 224 Tenn. 88, 450 S.W.2d 574, 1970 Tenn. LEXIS 380 (1970) .” (emphasis added; source, TCA)

➤  We are working to show the state has no lawful authority for Jim Crow enforcement through the state trucking law at Title 55. The distinction muzzied over by Phil the lawyer and the legal establishment is this: That between travel as the main category and transportation as the chief subcategory. Taxes are levied on those whose use of the  roads is “for the carriage of persons or property in interstate commerce,” Tenn. Code Ann. 67-6-386. *** Diesel fuel sold to common carrier — Certificate — Records.

Travel as a ‘human right’

➤  State government is concerned about abuses that it terms violations of human rights. It has estalished law to formalize the concerns analyzed in this website in creation of a human rights. It’s concern is “[s]afeguard all individuals within the state from discrimination because of race, creed, color, religion, sex, age or national origin in connection with employment and public accommodations, and because of race, color, creed, religion, sex or national origin in connection with housing.” 

It does so to “Protect their interest in personal dignity and freedom from humiliation” with specific interest in employment. Implied in the interest to protect the ability of people to work and to “[m]ake available to the state their full productive capacity in employment.”

Implied in these provisions: Free communication on the roads and boulevards of this state. This law intends to “[s]ecure the state against domestic strife and unrest that would menace its democratic institutions,” which police abuse surely does, and to “[p]reserve the public safety, health and general welfare; and [f]urther the interest, rights, opportunities and privileges of individuals within the state.” Tenn. Code Ann. § 4-21-101. Purpose and intent.

The David Tulis show is 1 p.m. weekdays, live and lococentric.
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