Ala. gov signs bill for new tax to rescue county

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A new tax has been signed into law to rescue Alabama's most populous county from a financial crisis that led to more than one-fourth of the county's government workers being laid off.

Gov. Bob Riley signed the occupational tax bill Friday along with a companion measure to hire a county manager to oversee the finances of Jefferson County. The county has 640,000 residents and there have been long lines for those with county business.

Some were in lawn chairs and waited hours Friday to get driver's licenses at the main courthouse in Birmingham.

The new .45 percent tax replaces an old tax that was ruled unconstitutional, knocking a hole in the county's budget.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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