Alabama’s most populous county is preparing to stop road maintenance, close courthouses and shutter services for the elderly after a court struck down taxes that pay for about 35 percent of its budget.The county's bid to raise taxes was struck down by the state's courts, so it has no choice but to suspend country services as it's basically broke.
Jefferson County, which includes Birmingham, released a plan to cut $52 million from its budget as it appeals the ruling against its business and occupational taxes to the Alabama Supreme Court. Without that revenue, the county has said it is at risk of running out of money as soon as this month.
The loss of the tax money was another blow to a county that has been struggling to avoid bankruptcy since last year, when Wall Street’s financial crisis caused its interest bills to soar on more than $3 billion of bonds.
Jefferson County, Alabama is only the beginning, folks. You'll see plenty of other municipalities, counties, towns, and cities go under financially in the months ahead. Those that do survive will be forced to pay the piper one way or the other, through loss of services or raising taxes.