Arkansas Democrat-Gazette

Plan would divert Confederat­e tax


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Two Alabama state senators say they want to divert part of a statewide property tax tied to the legacy of the Confederac­y to preserve and promote Black history in the state.

Alabama imposed the tax to fund pensions for Confederat­e soldiers and their widows, and still collects it today, the only tax directly tied to the Confederac­y. Most of the revenue is used for other purposes, but 1% goes to preserve and operate the state’s Confederat­e Memorial Park in rural Mountain Creek. The Chilton County site between Montgomery and Birmingham was the site of a home for indigent Confederat­e veterans and their widows.

Sen. Clyde Chambliss said he and Sen. Bobby Singleton will sponsor a bill this year that will preserve funding for the park, but require that the state spend an equal 1% on Black history sites.

That would be more than $500,000 a year for each purpose.

“It is imperative that we remember all of our history and learn from both the good and the bad,” said Chambliss, a Prattville Republican. “I will continue working with all that want to share my love of history, to protect, enhance and restore symbols that will help us avoid the mistakes of the past and move our state forward in a positive direction.”

Singleton, a Greensboro Democrat, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Lawmakers in the past have tried unsuccessf­ully to remove the park’s funding. Some places in Alabama and across the South have removed Confederat­e monuments in the past year, after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapoli­s brought nationwide protests against racial injustice. But removing monuments more than 50 years old in Alabama remains illegal under a state monument protection law.

The bill would also establish a process where Confederat­e memorials and statues that have been removed from public property in Alabama be moved to the park and displayed. It’s unclear how that would work with the current law.

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