The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

January 10, 2014

State property tax system survives challenge

A federal appeals court has rejected a suit challenging Alabama's property tax structure.

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta ruled against black and white plaintiffs from Sumter and Lawrence counties who contended that Alabama's property tax system is rooted in racial discrimination and cripples the ability of rural, predominantly black school systems to raise revenue.

A three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit rejected their challenges to Alabama's cap on property tax rates and the state's system of classifying property.

State Attorney General Luther Strange says the ruling confirms Alabama's position that the property tax structure doesn't violate the U.S. Constitution and that the citizens of Alabama have a right to structure their own tax system.

The plaintiffs also lost in district court.

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