JeffCo Legislative Delegation Backs New Occupational Tax Bill

UPDATE: Birmingham News coverage with much more detail here.This is far from a done deal. More later. (Sorry for the weird formatting; blogging by Blackberry is new to me. :) Formatting fixed.  Wow, this has been a crazy day!)

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A shame they couldn’t come to a consensus before the layoffs.

The delegation voted for a plan proposed by Rep. John Rogers, D-Birmingham, that would enact a new occupational tax at a rate of 0.45 percent, instead of the current 0.5 percent, and require all workers to pay the tax, including professionals who are now exempt because they buy business licenses.

It also would require a vote of county residents in June 2012 on whether to keep the tax. If they rejected it, the tax would be phased out over five years beginning in October 2012.

The vote was 13-4-1, with seven absent.  The article doesn’t have a list of individual legislators and their votes; I’ll try to find it and post it ASAP.  I’m very curious to know which ones couldn’t be bothered to attend the meeting.  (Yes, I know some of them probably had legitimate conflicts, but this is a big, fat honkin’ deal.)

Of course, this doesn’t resolve JeffCo’s problems.  We’re still on the verge of bankruptcy until and unless another solution can be found to restructure the sewer debt.  So this is just a baby step back from the precipice.

I’m off to do some family stuff.  I plan to attend the Race Relations Roundtable tomorrow morning (7:30 AM at Alabama Power), where Sens. Jabo Waggoner and Linda Coleman and Rep. Merika Coleman are scheduled to discuss the occupational tax.  Summary after.

4 Responses to “JeffCo Legislative Delegation Backs New Occupational Tax Bill”

  1. find out which Legislators couldn’t be bothered with voting one way or the other on the occupational tax and report back.

  2. Tricia says:

    From al.com:

    Voting for the package Tuesday were:
    Democrats Coleman,Sen. Priscilla Dunn of Bessemer, Smitherman,Rep. Merika Coleman of Midfield, Rep. Earl F. Hilliard Jr. of Birmingham, Rep. Mary Moore of Birmingham, Newton, Rogers, Rep. Rod Scott of Fairfield, and Rep. Patricia Todd of Birmingham.

    Republicans Sen. Steve French of Mountain Brook; Waggoner, and Canfield.

    Voting against the package were:
    Republicans Sen. Scott Beason of Gardendale, Rep. Paul DeMarco of Homewood, Rep. Owen Drake of Leeds, and Treadaway.

    Abstaining Tuesday: Republican Rep. Mary Sue McClurkin of Pelham.

    Not attending Tuesday’s meeting: Republicans Charles Bishop of Jasper, Sen. Hank Erwin Jr. of Montevallo, Rep. Pat Moore of Pleasant Grove, Rep. Arthur Payne of Trussville, Rep. Jack Williams of Vestavia Hills; and Democrat Rep. Oliver Robinson of Birmingham. One House seat is vacant.

  3. It’s definitely not the savior that the county commissioners are making it sound like it is. In fact, it’s a mere fraction of what they need. The only thing that the JeffCo legislators accomplished was potentially giving Collins and Smoot means to stall for a little longer.

    The county NEEDS to go broke because it NEEDS bankruptcy. With the current commission, anything less than broke isn’t going to push them in that direction. Until that happens, you’ll see more of the usual, which will create an even bigger hole than they have now. Which means the layoffs will be even bigger the next time around…

    And it’s a shame that the citizens of Shelby and St. Clair counties can’t vote on the tax in 2012, seeing as how they’re the ones paying it. JeffCo is enacting a tax on people outside their county without representation, which is why it should be brought to a statewide vote. It is a decision that affects those outside the county in addition to those within the county. And why should JeffCo be allowed (or even accepted) to live off of funding from outside counties with no say in the matter– particularly when those counties seem to do just fine without a similar tax?

  4. Kathy says:

    Tricia, thanks! I’ve highlighted your info in a new post above.

    AlMod, I don’t have much good to say about Collins or Smoot, but from what I heard today they certainly aren’t the only ones to blame for this particular problem (sewer debacle is a different story). We have an entire group of commissioners, each one protecting his or her own fiefdoms, with no overarching concern for the county as a whole.

    I’m guessing you didn’t mean to imply that out-of-county residents who work in JeffCo are the only ones paying the occupational tax. It certainly comes out of JeffCo residents’ checks too, and if we work in the city of Birmingham, we pay an additional 1%. It may very well be that JeffCo can streamline its operations to the point that it doesn’t need the revenue from the occupational tax. It may also be that services will suffer to the point that roads really won’t get repaired, tags won’t get renewed, storm damage won’t get cleaned up, and bodies won’t get buried. People who come to JeffCo to work every day do use county services, although not at the level of residents. Perhaps a two-tier approach would be better, with a lower rate for non-residents.

    I can’t quite make the equivalence I’ve seen some places — that we pay taxes we don’t get to vote on pretty much anytime we travel to another municipality and spend money. There’s a lot more choice involved when it’s discretionary spending as opposed to going where the jobs are to find employment.

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