Jefferson County tax bill dies in Alabama senate

Reuters News
Posted: Jun 10, 2011 9:18 AM
Jefferson County tax bill dies in Alabama senate

BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (Reuters) - Alabama's troubled Jefferson County suffered another financial blow as the state legislature failed to pass a bill overnight that would have allowed it to collect up to $50 million a year in taxes and fees for its operating revenue.

The bill died in the state senate and never came up for a vote on the final day of the legislative session that ended at midnight, state representative Paul DeMarco, a Republican, told Reuters on Friday.

"It stayed contested in the Senate and never made it to the House," DeMarco said.

The county is struggling to ward off what would be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history over a $3.2 billion debt it owes on sewer bonds.

But it faces an immediate shortfall of $9 million per month in its operating fund. On Tuesday, the county said it would put one-third of its work force, or 967 people, on administrative leave without pay in a bid to recoup the deficit.

Republican state Senator Scott Beason earlier said he would block a vote on the last day of the session.

(Reporting by Verna Gates, Writing by Matthew Bigg, Editing by Kevin Gray and Padraic Cassidy)