5 Taxpayer Standing Requirements to Challenge An Act

In Stilp v. Commonwealth, 588 Pa. 539, 905 A.2d 918 (2006) (Stilp 2006 (pay raise)), our Supreme Court was asked whether Stilp enjoyed standing to challenge a statute which granted a pay raise to all state legislators, judges and some members of the executive branch.

The Court considered an exception to the traditional standing requirements, taxpayer standing:

Under Application of Biester, 487 Pa. 438, 409 A.2d 848 (1979), a taxpayer has standing to challenge an act if:

(1) the governmental action would otherwise go unchallenged;

(2) those directly and immediately affected by the complained-of matter are beneficially affected and not inclined to challenge the action;

(3) judicial relief is appropriate;

(4) redress through other channels is unavailable;

(5) no other persons are better suited to assert the claim. Id. at 593-94, 905 A.2d at 950.

The Court decided Stilp enjoyed standing, stating in part as follows:

Lastly, there are no other persons better situated to assert the claim because all those directly and immediately affected by the act in question are beneficially affected ... and have not brought, and are not likely to bring, a cause of action in state court.

This is especially so because the act was repealed. Id. at 594, 905 A.2d at 951.