With key tax nixed, troubles mount for Ala. county

AP News
Posted: Mar 16, 2011 6:35 PM

The financial woes for Alabama's most populous county are increasing now that a court has struck down a tax that helped it stave off bankruptcy.

The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that Jefferson County's occupational tax is unconstitutional because citizens didn't have the required public notice of the law that enacted it in 2009.

The sponsor of the legislation, Democratic Rep. John Rogers, says the ruling increases the likelihood that Jefferson County will have to file bankruptcy because of financial problems that include more than $3 billion in sewer debt. It would be the nation's largest-ever municipal bankruptcy.

County Commissioner Jimmie Stephens says the county that includes Birmingham could be forced to make deep cuts to most services, including law enforcement.