Oral argument: Feb. 29, 2012
Appealed from: Indiana Supreme Court (May 10, 2011)
EQUAL PROTECTION, RATIONAL BASIS, SPECIAL ASSESSMENT, TAXPAYER, BARRETT LAW
The Supreme Court will resolve whether a local taxing authority violated the Equal Protection Clause when it forgave the outstanding debt of taxpayers who elected to pay a special assessment over the course of several years while refusing to refund similarly situated taxpayers who paid in full. The Indiana Supreme Court determined that Indianapolis did not violate the Equal Protection Clause despite the large disparity in tax obligations of identically situated taxpayers. Petitioners Christine Armour and other taxpayers argue that where a state has made a determination to treat a group of properties as the same class, it must treat the taxpayers of those properties with rough equality. They assert that forgiving the outstanding debt of some taxpayers without issuing refunds to those who made a single full payment violates the Equal Protection Clause. Respondent City of Indianapolis maintains that the differing treatment is based on legitimate governmental interests and is constitutionally valid.