Legislature denies Pelham’s request for tobacco tax

Published 6:07 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2011

By NEAL WAGNER / City Editor

Pelham will not enact a city tobacco tax, after the Alabama Legislature denied the city permission to establish it.

The announcement came during the Pelham City Council’s March 21 work session. Pelham passed a resolution during its Feb. 21 meeting requesting state Rep. Mike Hill, R-Columbiana, and state Sen. Cam Ward, R-Alabaster, to sponsor legislation authorizing Pelham to pass the tobacco tax.

During the Feb. 21 meeting, council members said they were pursuing the legislation as an “exploratory measure” to see if the state would allow the city to impose the tax.

Council members said they would not decide if they would impose the tax or finalize the amount of the tax until they heard back from the legislature.

“The tobacco tax has been denied by the Legislature,” said Council President Mike Dickens. “So that’s that.”

Alabama law prohibits cities from imposing certain taxes, which requires city officials to request a local bill be passed in the Alabama Legislature allowing the city to enact the tax.

“We can’t impose that tax on people. We have to ask for a bill from the Legislature to do that,” said Pelham Mayor Don Murphy. “This time, they basically said ‘Hey, y’all can’t do that.’”