Lawmakers prepare for special session

MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - State lawmakers will gather Monday night for a special session to solve Jefferson County's occupational tax problems. They plan to pass a new occupational tax and get a thousand workers back to work, but it may not be that easy.

The main occupational tax bill to solve the crisis is from State Representative John Rogers. The bill will lower the tax to .45 and call for a referendum vote in 2012. If voters say no, the tax will be phased out by 2017.

State Senator Rodger Smitherman, a powerful lawmaker in the Senate, wants to change the bill. Smitherman wants the tax to drop to .35 if voters reject the job tax. Smitherman says the county needs to have some revenue to provide services.

Republican lawmakers say if Smitherman's bill clears the senate, it is a deal breaker and will could cause the special session to end in failure. Republicans are demanding Rogers' bill with a referendum along with an accountability bill to pass.

While most hope the legislature can wrap up their business in five days, Smitherman says if it takes up to twelve days, then that is what it will take.

The cost to taxpayers is 110-thousand dollars for a five day session.