Executive Aircraft Consulting v. City of Newton
Kansas Supreme Court
845 P.2d 57 (1993)
The City of Newton (city) and Harvey County (county) (defendants) owned both a municipal airport and the only provider that sold aviation fuel at that airport. Executive Aircraft Consulting, Inc. (Executive) (plaintiff) rented space at the airport for its aircraft-refurbishing business. Executive used a significant amount of aviation fuel. To save money, Executive purchased a tanker truck. When Executive found a low price on aviation fuel, typically from a source outside the airport, Executive bought a truck’s worth of the fuel and pumped the fuel into its aircraft as needed. Concerned about the loss of fuel-sale revenue, the city and county passed a law imposing what they called a fuel-flowage fee of five cents per gallon on any aviation fuel transported onto airport grounds. The law also created criminal penalties for failing to pay the fee. The revenue from the fee was used to fund general airport improvements. Executive sued the city and the county, arguing that the fuel-flowage fee was actually an illegal tax, not a permissible fee. The trial court granted judgment to Executive. The city and county appealed, and the case was transferred to the Kansas Supreme Court.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Abbott, J.)
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