Lawmakers at odds over next steps following court ruling

By Melanie Posey

BIRMINGHAM (WBRC) - State lawmakers are split when it comes to deciding what to do next after the Alabama Supreme Court ruled against Jefferson County's occupational tax.

Wednesday's decision is actually the second Supreme Court ruling that has struck down the county's job tax. State Rep. Paul DeMarco said it is imperative to remember this fact in moving forward on this issue to understand all the litigation that has always followed this tax.

DeMarco is co-chair of the Jefferson County Legislative Delegation along with Rep. John Rogers. DeMarco said the next step is to read the court's opinion and be clear on what they were saying and then have the county commission and delegation sit down and see how to move forward.

"It would be fair to the commission to let them say, here's what we've been working on with our county finances," DeMarco said. "Here's what we need or what we don't need. Give them a chance to tell the legislative delegation where they're at."

However, Rogers said there is no need to talk—there has been enough of that already.

"We talked already. The county commission… we met earlier. I told them the same thing I'm telling you now," Rogers told Fox 6 News. "Find another way. There's no way you'll pass this tax. I told them find me five republicans and they can't find one. I'll give them five democrats if they give me five republicans."

Rogers said he feels the county needs to just go ahead and file bankruptcy. Even though it sounds bad, he said that's the only way they're going to get back on their feet.

However, commissioners say that's a last resort for them. They really want to sit down with lawmakers and see if they can convince them to support another, lower tax.

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