Lawmaker not expecting Jeffco bill to pass | News
JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC)- A bleak forecast is expected by a state lawmaker concerning efforts to help Jefferson County's finances.
Vestavia Hills Representative Jack Williams fears his bill will die in the session. Williams' bill would put a new occupational tax in place that is basically the same as the old one, no higher than .5% of your earnings if you work anywhere in the county.
His bill, as written when it passed a House Committee last week, puts that tax on people like architects and doctors who pay the state a license fee, something the old tax did not and what Williams terms a mistake he never intended.
That, plus a general lack of desire by several lawmakers to simply hand the county more money without other strings attached probably means the bill is dead before it hits the house floor.
"At this point, I think the focus, my focus at least, is on finding a solution in the special session," said Williams.
County lawmakers have promised all spring that they would come up with a way to give the county's general fund some of the $40-million it needs to avoid even bigger cuts and help it get out of bankruptcy. No solution that has been floated out so far has gotten near enough support, and time is running out.
Williams says the county's best hope may be a special session, but that would only happen if Governor Bentley agrees to call one for the county or add their problems to another special session scheduled for May. Williams says he thinks the county's best hope now is to get a bill that is put together by Bentley and the legislative leadership, not county lawmakers.
"We've had such difficulties getting extremely divergent views together on a local bill that we may have to go with a statewide bill, and that's probably goint to involve the Governor and leadership of the House and Senate getting more directly involved," said Williams.
Representative Williams says the reason he is hopeful state leaders may get involved is because Jefferson County could be in danger of being thrown out of bankruptcy court if it can't find a revenue fix. If Jefferson County's bankruptcy fails, that could drive borrowing costs higher for other counties and municipalities in the state.
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