BRADENTON, Fla. — Despite serious reservations about mismanagement and corruption in Jefferson County, Ala., state senators this morning narrowly passed a revised occupational tax for the county on a vote of 12-to-9. Gov. Bob Riley is expected to sign the bill into law.
Jefferson County’s current occupational tax, which is 0.5% and supports one-third of the financially troubled county’s general fund, was struck down by a judge earlier this year forcing commissioners recently to lay off nearly 1,000 employees as well as to close five satellite courthouses and make other severe budget cuts in county services.
The bill passed by lawmakers reduces the tax to 0.45% on everyone who works in Jefferson County, and it applies to those who are currently exempt, such as attorneys and doctors. It also requires the county to hold a referendum in 2012 to ask voters if the tax should be repealed.
As is customary in Alabama because the occupational tax was a local bill, most lawmakers did not vote today even though the senate was in full session. Members of Jefferson County’s local delegation who brought the bill forward actually voted on a bill.