AVIATION: Double Trouble

Northwest Airlines Inc. flies over eight states and Canada. But its home port is St. Paul's Holman Municipal Airport, which lies in Ramsey County. In 1939 Ramsey County decided to slap a personal property tax on all of Northwest's planes, and sent it a bill for $16,913. Northwest objected, arguing: Northwest was already taxed on its planes by Minnesota and six other states, mainly on the mileage flown in each. Why should it pay a tax twice? Alarmed, the other 18 U.S. airlines joined Northwest in fighting the tax.

Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-to-4 decision, upheld...

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