BRADENTON, Fla. - Speculation about whether Jefferson County, Ala., might file for bankruptcy rose to new heights late last week when Alabama's high court refused to allow the financially ailing county to spend occupational tax revenues while appealing a lower-court ruling that struck down the tax earlier this year.

In addition, two county commissioners Thursday refused to consider general fund budget cuts necessitated by the legal battle over the tax setting off yet another round of politically charged accusations about whether the delay would lead to a bankruptcy filing.

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