The Tax Assessor of Jefferson County added to the ad valorem tax return of the appellee, taxpayer, an item listed as "20. Supplies, raw materials and manufactured articles of manufacturers, not including products manufactured within twelve months and stored at point of manufacture." in the assessed value of $229,100. Taxpayer appealed to the circuit court where ninety-five per cent of the additional assessment, being $217,645, was annulled and set aside. From the judgment of the circuit court, the tax assessor and the State have taken the instant appeal.
Appellants insist that the trial court erred in holding that ninety-five per cent of the raw material inventory is not subject to ad valorem tax and is specifically exempt therefrom under Title 51, § 2, paragraph (I), Code 1940, which recites as follows:
This case is not concerned with the statutory requirement as to when the "raw material" was produced. As we understand the record, the State agreed that the material here in question was "produced during the current calendar year."
For a condensed statement of the facts and the contentions of taxpayer, we quote the following excerpts from taxpayer's brief:
Taxpayer's argument, in short, is that the legislature intended to exempt a manufacturer's basic material stocked for manufacturing purposes, whether such basic material is raw in the ordinary sense or not; that "raw material" is a relative term; and that which is a manufactured product to one taxpayer may be "raw material," within the meaning of the statute, to another taxpayer.
The question in the case may be fairly stated as follows: Are the steel rods and bars, which are stored at taxpayer's plant for manufacturing purposes in Alabama, raw material, and, therefore, exempt from ad valorem tax under paragraph (l) of § 2, Title 51, Code 1940?
We answer in the negative and hold that said roads and bars are not raw material within the meaning of the statute.
Appellants state in brief, and correctly, so far as we have ascertained, that, as to construction of paragraph (l), supra, this is a case of first impression. We must undertake then, to construe the statute from its language and under applicable rules of construction.
We have found no definition of "raw material" in the statute. "* * * There is a generally accepted canon of statutory construction to the effect that where there is nothing to indicate to the contrary, words in a statute will be given the meaning which is accepted in popular everyday usage. * * *" Republic Steel Corp. v. Horn, 268 Ala. 279, 105 So.2d 446, 447; Ala.Digest, Statutes, "Raw" has been defined as:
Immediately following the words "raw material," the words "including coke" were inserted. If the legislature intended to exempt all material stocked for manufacturing purposes, why was it felt necessary to expressly state that coke was to be included in the exempt material? Coke is defined as:
Appellee's witness, R. W. Mooty, a metallurgist with 35 years' experience, testified that coke is employed in refining iron ore. Coke is certainly not a raw material in the primary sense because it is not found in nature in the form of coke, but is a material made from coal. The legislature must have recognized this fact, recognized further that coke would not be considered as included within the term "raw material," and, in order to provide an exemption for coke, thought it necessary to expressly state that coke should be included as a raw material, although it would not ordinarily be so considered.
Where a statute enumerates certain things on which it is to operate, the statute is to be construed as excluding from its operation all those things not expressly mentioned. Champion v. McLean, 266 Ala. 103, 112, 95 So.2d 82. Here the statute has expressly enumerated coke as a manufactured material which is to be included as a raw material. Under the rule of construction, the statute is to be construed as excluding from its operation all other manufactured materials not expressly mentioned. We think the language clearly shows that the legislature did not intend to include special clemistry steel rods and bars as raw material under paragraph (l), supra.
If taxpayer's inventory of supplies is to be exempt from tax under the statute, the statute must show in clear and unambiguous terms the intention of the legislature to grant the exemption, "* * * for the right of taxation is essential to the existence of all governments, * * * and it is never to be presumed that this right is abandoned or surrendered unless it clearly appears that such was the intention. * * *" Stein v. Mayor, Aldermen and Common Council of Mobile, 17 Ala. 234, 239. "* * * `* * * "Taxation is the rule; exemption the exception." * * * When therefore it is claimed that by legislation any species of property, * * * is relieved from its just proportion of public burdens, the intention to release it ought to be expressed in clear and unambiguous terms; it ought not to be deduced from language of doubtful import, nor when there is room for just controversy as to the legislative intent. * * * A statute creating an exception from taxation, or substituting, for the benefit of an individual or a corporation, taxation less onerous than that which others must bear "belongs to a class of statutes in which the narrowest meaning is to be taken which will fairly carry out the intent of the Legislature." * * *'" Brown v. Protective Life Insurance Co., 188 Ala. 166, 168, 169, 66 So. 47; see also, Ala.Digest, Taxation, Giving full consideration to appellee's argument, we think the most that can be said is that it creates "room for just controversy as to the legislative intent."
In City of Henderson v. George Delker Company, 193 Ky. 248, 235 S.W. 732, decided in 1921 and relied on by appellee, the court held that taxpayer who finished and assembled parts into buggies was a manufacturer, and that the parts were "raw material" under the Kentucky statute. The court there said that "raw material" did not necessarily mean "crude material in its natural state," under the statute which exempted: "* * * `machinery and products in course of manufacture of persons, firms or corporations actually engaged in manufacturing and their raw material actually on hand at their plants for the purpose of manufacture,' * * *." 235 S.W. 732. The statute quoted contains no mention of any particular substance, such as "including coke," which is found in paragraph (l) of § 2, Title 51, Code 1940. This difference, we think, is sufficient to distinguish the cited Kentucky case from the case at bar. Moreover, the same Kentucky court, construing the same statute in 1943, decided that rough lumber, which had been made from logs by taxpayer and was held in stock for further processing, was not exempt as raw material. The 1943 opinion in pertinent part recites:
We have carefully examined the other cases cited by appellee. To discuss those authorities in detail would unduly lengthen this opinion. While the cited cases do contain expressions supportive of appellee's contentions, each of them, as it appears to us, can be distinguished from the instant case.
The rods and bars here under consideration are made to order and vary as to diameter, cross-section, and length. Some bars or rods have chemical content different from that of other bars or rods, and are unquestionably manufactured products in the sense that iron ore has been refined, mixed with other elements, and shaped to fit varying specifications. They are clearly not in the same state as when found in nature, but have been made into something else by the hand of man. We are of opinion that the steel rods and bars which constitute taxpayer's inventory are not raw material within the meaning of the statute.
The judgment of the circuit court is reversed and the cause is remanded.
Reversed and remanded.
LAWSON, STAKELY, GOODWYN and MERRILL, JJ., concur.