(a) There is hereby levied, in addition to all other taxes of every kind now imposed by law, and shall be collected, as herein provided, a privilege or license tax against the person on account of the business activities engaged in and in the amount to be determined by the application of rates against gross receipts, as follows:
Upon every person, firm or corporation engaged or continuing within this state in the business of contracting to construct, reconstruct or build any public highway, road, bridge, or street, an amount equal to five percent of the gross receipts derived from performance of such contracts. The term "gross receipts" is herein defined to include only those amounts derived and received by the contractor from the performance of such contracts.
(b) The proceeds of the taxes levied by this section, after deduction of the cost of administration and collection of such taxes, shall be distributed as follows:
(1) Fifteen percent of the residue remaining after deduction of the cost of administration and collection shall be paid into the State Treasury and shall be credited to the Pensions and Security Trust Fund to be used for general welfare purposes, and
(2) Eighty-five percent of the residue remaining after deduction of the cost of administration and collection shall be paid into the State Treasury and shall be credited to the Alabama Special Mental Health Fund to be used for mental health purposes.
(c) The taxes imposed pursuant to this section shall constitute a debt due the state and may be collected by civil action, in addition to all other methods provided by law and in this section. The said taxes, together with interest and penalties with respect thereto, shall constitute and be secured by a lien upon the property of any person from whom said taxes are due or who is required to pay said taxes. All provisions of the revenue laws of this state which apply to the enforcement of liens for license taxes due the state shall apply fully to the collection of the taxes levied herein, and the Department of Revenue shall collect such taxes and enforce this section and shall have and exercise for such collection and enforcement all rights and remedies that this state or the department has for collection of the state sales tax. All provisions of the state sales tax, with respect to definitions, except the definition of "gross receipts" contained therein, payment and assessment of the state sales tax, making of reports and keeping and preserving records with respect thereto, interest after the due date of tax, penalties for failure to pay tax or otherwise complying with the state sales tax statutes, the promulgation of rules and regulations and the administration and enforcement of the state sales tax statutes, which are not inconsistent with the provisions of this section when applied to the tax levied pursuant to subsection (a) of this section, shall apply to the tax levied herein. The Commissioner of Revenue and the state Department of Revenue shall have and exercise the same powers, duties and obligations with respect to the taxes levied herein as are imposed on the commissioner and the department by the state sales tax statutes. All provisions of the state sales tax statutes that are made applicable in this section to the taxes levied herein and to the administration of this section are incorporated herein by reference and made a part hereof as if fully set forth herein; provided, that the provisions of the state sales tax with respect to the collection by the taxpayer of the tax levied therein shall not apply, the taxes levied herein being levied against the person required to pay the tax to the state.
(d) The taxes levied herein shall not apply with respect to contracts made by the contractor with any county or incorporated city or town, except that contracts in which the State of Alabama is a joint party with the city, town or county shall be subject to the tax, nor to that portion of the gross receipts received by the contractor constituting additional amounts paid to the contractor under contractual escalation provisions allowing for an increase in the contract price for escalations in the cost of fuels, materials, and/or labor.