Alabama school chief to BP: A big bill’s coming

Published 9:58 pm Thursday, June 10, 2010

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama’s state school superintendent said Thursday he plans to bill BP for the loss of state education tax revenues caused by the Gulf oil spill and will sue the company if it doesn’t pay.

At a news conference, Superintendent of Education Joe Morton said the Gulf oil spill’s impact on Alabama’s tourism and fishing industries is hurting tax collections, particularly sales, income and utility taxes that go toward public education.

“The oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is wreaking havoc on our environment and Gulf coast economy. We cannot allow it to also undermine our public schools by reducing the very tax receipts that pay our teachers’ salaries and help our classrooms keep the learning environment alive daily,” he said.

Morton said he will use economic experts to calculate the loss each month and will send BP a bill.

If he’s rebuffed, Morton said he will sue BP on behalf of Alabama’s 745,000 public school students.

Paul Hubbert, executive secretary of the Alabama Education Association, said the teachers’ organization supports Morton’s move and will help in any way it can.