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On Wednesday the Jefferson County House delegation approved a 3% car rental and short-term lease tax to secure funding for a new stadium and upgrades to the Birmingham-Jefferson Convention Complex.
While some see this as a victory, others do not.
The Jefferson County delegation in the Alabama House approved the bill with 9-2 vote and four abstentions. Senator Jabo Waggoner’s (R-Vestavia Hills) bill will now head to the Alabama House floor for a vote.
An Interesting Bill
The Alabama Senate has already approved Waggoner’s bill, which is co-sponsored by Rep. Jack Williams.
Yep. The battle has just begun here. If the state passes the bill, the tax will be “activated”. Don’t forget that the BJCC Authority also needs to finalize their plans for a new stadium. It’s another one of many moving parts to financing a new stadium and the BJCC upgrades. The Birmingham Business Journal explained it like this:
“… The bill would make corrections allowing the 3 percent tax on short-term car rentals and leases to take effect. Lawmakers initially passed the tax in 2001, but it has never been collected.
“The tax wouldn’t take effect unless the BJCC Authority cements plans for a new stadium suitable for major college football.”
Not Just A New Stadium
The bill would also fund renovations to the BJCC, and Waggoner says the bill will create a $325 million economic impact and provide over 3,000 jobs.
Listening To All Sides?
WIAT reports that some representatives and others in attendance at the committee meeting “felt there concerns were not being heard.”
Reps. Juandalynn Givan and Mary Moore voiced opposition in regards to a return on investment and concerns about the Smithfield neighborhood and Legion Field.
WIAT reported that Rep. Juandalynn Givan, a representative of Smithfield, stated that she wanted to see more redevelopment for other areas instead of Uptown.
Rep. Mary Moore stated that it made no sense to build a stadium, and that it would not benefit North Birmingham.
While the representatives and others in attendance were stating their objections to the bill, Rep. Williams motioned for a vote. As you can see in the video, that’s when things escalated. Williams told ABC 33/40 that there is limited time to complete committee work.
“ … And sometimes, when folks are in opposition of something, they can talk and talk and talk in order to delay any kind of action, Williams said. “My goal was to make sure we didn’t continue to delay this until there could be no action taken today.
While the bill passed, feathers were definitely ruffled. Rep. John Rogers (D) stated that he will fight the bill on the House floor.
“The fight just started. It’s a full-scale war now,” Rogers told WIAT.
The vote is expected to get a second reading on the House floor today. The final vote on the floor could happen as early as next Tuesday.
Birmingham, where are you with this step? Are we moving in the right direction?