School Board Employees Not Exempt From Municipal Occupancy Tax

Jefferson Cty. Bd. of Education v. City of Irondale; Blankenship, et al. v. City of Irondale, [Ms. 1180752 and 1180777, Oct. 23, 2020], ___ So. 3d ___ (Ala. 2020). A plurality of the Court (Mitchell, J.; Parker, C.J., concurs; Shaw, Sellers, and Mendheim, JJ., concur in the result) affirms the Jefferson Circuit Court’s dismissal of claims by the Jefferson County Board of Education and public school employees challenging a 1% occupancy tax passed by municipal ordinance by the City of Irondale. The plaintiffs argued “that public-school employees are exempt from the occupational tax because ... they provide an essential government service.” Ms. *2. Citing McPheeter v. City of Auburn, 288 Ala. 286, 259 So. 2d 833 (1972), where Auburn University employees challenged a 1% occupational tax passed by the City of Auburn, the opinion explains, “if there is no principle of law clothing government employees with immunity, because they are such, we can conceive of no reasonable cause why they should be excluded from a tax that others bear.” Ms. *8, quoting McPheeter v. City of Auburn, 288 Ala. at 290, 259 So. 2d at 835.

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