United States Supreme Court
GREAT NORTHERN RY. CO. V. STATE OF WASHINGTON, (1937)
Argued: Decided: February 1, 1937
Appeal from the Supreme Court of the State of Washington.
[ Great Northern Ry. Co. v. State of Washington
Messrs. Thomas Balmer and L. B. da Ponte, both of Seattle, Wash., and F. G. Dorety, of St. Paul, Minn., for appellant.
George G. Hannan, of Olympia, Wash., for appellee.
Mr. Justice ROBERTS delivered the opinion of the Court.
This is an appeal from a judgment of the Supreme Court of Washington1 in an action brought by the ap-
pellant to recover fees for the years 1929-1933 paid under protest to the State Department of Public Works. The relevant statutory provisions are:2
'Section 1. That hereafter every person, firm or corporation engaged in business as a public utility and subject to regulation as to rates and charges by the department of public works, except auto transportation companies and steamboat companies holding certificates under chapter 248 of the Laws of 1927, shall, on or before the first day of April of each year, file with the department of public works a statement on oath showing its gross operating revenue for the preceding calendar year or portion thereof and pay to the department of public works a fee of 1/10 of one per cent of such gross operating revenue: Provided, That the fee so paid shall in no case be less than ten dollars.'
'Sec. 2. All sums collected by the director of public works under the provisions of this act shall within thirty days after their receipt be paid to the state treasurer, and by him deposited in a fund to be known as the public service revolving fund.'
The Supreme Court of the State has defined the exaction as a regulatory or inspection fee, and has declared that the fund created by the sums collected must be used solely for administering the State public service commission law.