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Bloomberg Spotlights Jefferson County Woes

Alabama’s largest county, which made national headlines when it became the largest municipality to declare bankruptcy, now finds itself under the looking glass as others try to assess the effects.

A feature in Bloomberg Businessweek in mid-May opens with a photo of county residents standing in line waiting to get into the courthouse for services. The story mentions tree limbs felled by a storm but uncollected weeks later, roads in need of repairs, county credit cards rejected for supplies and portable toilets near public buildings to accommodate needs of people waiting in lines for services.

“The unraveling of Jefferson, home to the city of Birmingham, provides an unusual opportunity to see what happens when a government suddenly loses a fourth of its income,” the Businessweek story says.

State legislators moved toward allowing the county to reinstate an occupational tax, which would help the county meet more of its obligations, but it took a hit at the last minute when a representative from neighboring St. Clair County amended it to keep commuters from paying the tax.

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