JeffCo legislators, commission discuss financial crisis
By Alan Collins
By Alan Collins
Most are calling an afternoon meeting a good first step. A total of 15 members out of the 25 member Jefferson County legislative delegation met with four Jefferson County Commissioners on Tuesday. The commission gave a budget presentation about the county's financial crisis. The current fiscal budget has a $40 million dollar deficit.
"The future services we are able to allow to the citizens are critical to this meeting," Commissioner Jimmie Stephens said.
Gardendale Senator Scott Beason attended the meeting. Beason single-handedly killed a bill that would have allowed the county commission to reinstate its occupational tax last legislative session. Beason is not convinced new taxes are needed.
"Well I think there are people adamant that they want to go ahead and raise taxes. My feelings have been you do everything to avoid that. Look to un-earmarking. Look to flexibility in spending," Beason said.
But Birmingham Representative Demetrius Newton complained while they bicker about new taxes and un-earmarking money going to Cooper Green Mercy Hospital and the Jefferson County Health Department, it would be easier to bring back the old job tax.
"It's very easy to reinstate and put all of these people back to work, end the long lines, open the satellite courthouses. It's crucial," Newton said.
Gov. Robert Bentley's Chief of Staff Dave Perry attended the meeting and said he believes a compromise can be reach so the governor can call a special session of the legislature in November to implement the solution. Another meeting is set next week between all sides.
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