“Normally we don’t like to meddle in other counties’ business,” said county commission chairman Stan Batemon. “This (tax) meddles in ours.”
Batemon and the remainder of the commission unanimously approved a resolution opposing the taxation bill, termed the “Distressed Counties Bill” in the Alabama legislature. The bill passed the Senate last week, and was being discussed in the House of Representatives during Tuesday’s meeting.
“(T)he St. Clair County Commission understands and is sympathetic to Jefferson County’s need for a plan to increase county revenues in order to satisfy the bankruptcy court; and … the St. Clair County Commission is aware of the pressures placed upon our legislators to divine a solution to address this issue,” the resolution reads in part. “(T)he St. Clair County Commission does not believe that a new occupational tax will solve Jefferson County’s financial woes and furthermore advocates addressing these financial burdens through methods other than taxation; and … the St. Clair County Commission has a duty to protect the financial interest and wellbeing of its citizens who are employed in Jefferson County and to prevent them from suffering a burdensome occupational tax that would reduce household income.”
Officials with the St. Clair County Mayor’s Association passed a similar resolution during their meeting Tuesday.
“People who live in Riverside who work in Birmingham spend a lot of money there already,” Riverside mayor Rusty Jessup, who chairs the association, said. “Birmingham is getting enough of our tax money.
“The idea that citizens in Riverside have to pay them a tax … they (Jefferson County) haven’t managed their stuff, and that’s on them.”
No St. Clair County official opposed the motion at Tuesday’s meeting. Batemon said he hoped that would pressure members of the Alabama legislature.
“Some are definitely opposed (in the legislature), but some are not opposed vociferously enough,” he said. “We’ll be sure to get a copy of this resolution to all our legislators, and the governor.
“It’s just not the right way to impose a tax, not just on St. Clair County but all the counties around who have no voice.”
Contact Will Heath at firstname.lastname@example.org.