To The Editor:
In November of 1980 the voters of the state of Missouri overwhelmingly approved Article X Sections 16 through 24 which became known as the Hancock Amendment.
This amendment prohibited the state of Missouri and all of its political subdivisions from creating new taxes or increasing existing taxes without a vote of the people. There has been considerable litigation under this amendment since its passage.
One of the most recent cases is Zwieg v. The Metropolitan St. Louis Sewer District decided Nov. 12, 2013, wherein the Missouri Supreme Court decided that a fee for stormwater drainage approved by the Metropolitan Board and collected from the users of the Metropolitan Sewer District was determined a tax not approved by a vote of the people and therefore unlawful.
However, the court did not order a refund because there was nothing in the Hancock Amendment that expressly ordered a refund. I guess they forgot about Article I, Section 10, of the Missouri Constitution — due process of the law. That no person shall be deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of the law.
As soon as the court declared the tax unlawful, it became property that was taken without due process of law and should have been refunded.
This decision, if allowed to stand, will authorize any taxing authority to collect an unlawful tax imposed mistakenly or intentionally and keep their unlawful gain.