Some county commissioners want tax refunds back

By Alan Collins

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - Wednesday, the Jefferson County Commission will square off over if the county should try and recollect up to $38 million in refunds from taxpayers.

Commissioner Shelia Smoot said Tuesday she is pushing a resolution saying no.

"It says in the document the county could collect," Smoot said. "It did not say the county had to collect."

But, Commission President Bettye Fine Collins says the county is obligated to go after the money.

"A governor saying to one of his children, they don't have to pay income taxes," Collins said. "The taxes we didn't set that tax. It was set by law."

Commissioner Bobby Humphryes opposes the recollection.

"I think it's ridiculous we would even talk about back taxing people," Humphryes said. "But, we got to be careful."

Carns says he wants to hear more before going after the job tax refunds.

"I'm not for being punitive to our taxpayers," Carns said. "That is something I've never done."

Most on the commission say they want a vote in the issue. County attorneys have said no vote is necessary because the finance director can go after the taxes.  However, one of the attorneys who sued the county for the refunds says there should be a vote.

"We have a five-member commission, not a dictatorship," Jim McFerrin, one of the three attorneys who filed the lawsuit over the job tax against the county said. "It's up to the commission to vote if the want to implement Ms. Collins revenge tax."

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