If you haul in Michigan, there is no relief in sight from
the state’s $100 annual fee – on June 20 the Supreme Court rejected arguments
against the state’s truck fee structure.
Michigan charges $100 in annual fees for trucks registered
in the state and for trucks registered in other states that transport freight
between two Michigan cities.
Two groups –the ATA and Mid-Con Freight Systems – challenged
the fees in January. The ATA argued that the fees were in violation of the
Commerce Clause of the U.S. Constitution because they affect interstate
commerce, according to The Associated Press.
Mid-Con Freight Systems, meanwhile, argued that Section 40
of the U.S. Code 15404, the federal law that defines the Single State
Registration System, pre-empts the law. That law limits participating states to
a $10 annual fee.
The Supreme Court dismissed the first case because it said
it lacked “convincing evidence showing that the tax deters, or for that matter
discriminates against, interstate activities,” according to a majority ruling
written by Justice Stephen Bryer.
In the second case, the court found that the Michigan fees
were not in conflict with the federal regulations.
Justice Anthony Kennedy dissented, along with Chief Justice
William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The three expressed concerns
over the majority’s interpretation of the law.
According to The AP, Kennedy wrote in his dissent
that the majority used “flawed textual analysis and dubious inferences from
legislative silence to impose the court’s view of what it thinks Congress
probably wanted to say. In my view, this is a mistake.”