A new law that would give a majority of online sales tax revenue to Morgan County Schools is being called unconstitutional. Morgan County Commissioners say, for now, they won’t disperse the $1 million as the law requires.
The new law, initially a bill sponsored by Senator Arthur Orr from Decatur, goes into effect only in Morgan County on October 1st, with more than 90 percent of online sales tax funds going to the school districts. The Morgan County Commission would keep 5 percent.
Commission Chairman Ray Long tells WAAY 31 a team of experts reviewed the law.
"Spots in there that this firm, constitutional experts, say that it violates the Constitution of Alabama," Long said.
Senator Arthur Orr, who sponsored this bill during the recent legislative session, tells WAAY 31 sales tax revenue always goes to the schools and when internet sales started to rise, the schools wanted to receive the funds. He says the school districts in Morgan County asked him to propose this bill on their behalf.
Orr says people in Montgomery believe it is constitutional. Long tells WAAY 31 the commission has been trying to speak with lawmakers about the legality of this bill but haven’t gotten anywhere. He says a team of attorneys researched the law and informed him they believe it shouldn't be allowed.
WAAY 31 tried contacting Bill Justice, the attorney working with the commission, to find out why they believe this law is unconstitutional. We have not heard back.
Long says only having 5 percent of online sales tax revenue in the budget would hinder their ability to help the county.
"Right now, all the money comes to the Morgan County Commission, goes to the general fund, and we use it for the needs of the county. We have needs just like everybody else," Long said.
The law states volunteer fire departments would see 1.5 percent of the revenue as well. WAAY 31 reached out to school districts and fire departments to see if they had a comment. We have not heard back from any of them yet.