Jeffco Commissioners hoping to raise local taxes

JEFFERSON COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - The Jefferson County Commission wants the authority to raise taxes to deal with its financial crisis.

The commission is urging passage of a bill in Montgomery that would give it authority limited home rule. The bill would allow commissioners to raise local taxes to bring in enough revenue to prevent massive layoffs in the wake of losing the county's occupational tax.

Right now, the commission can only raise the sales tax on its own and needs permission from Montgomery to do anything else tax-wise.    

Commission President David Carrington says the county has to come up with at least $50 million in new revenue to replace the $75 million it lost when a judge declared the occupational tax unconstitutional. He says the county is asking to take responsibility for itself.

"We're basically saying let the buck stop with the commission," said Carrington. "We'll have to face the voters 4 years from now. We need to take the finances of Jefferson County outside of the political process in Montgomery."

Carrington says he has gotten good response from legislators on both sides of the aisle. He says the legislature will adjourn in May, but without help, the county's crisis will not be over.

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