High Court: Tax on utility bills may remain

The State Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit challenging the utility tax added to resident’s utility bills to help close the state’s deficit last year. If the court had ruled in favor of the lawsuit brought by state Sen. Joe Markley, the state would have had a new $432.5 million budget hole to close.

Markley said he was disappointed in the decision, but is glad he “put the state on notice” that someone is questioning the legality of budget-balancing plan in which the state borrowed money to be repaid by the tax. The Supreme Court affirmed the lower courts ruling that the lawsuit against the Department of Public Utility Control is barred by the doctrine of sovereign immunity.