Why is the state of Alabama still collecting tax for needy Confederate Civil War vets?

AP via blog.nola.com: "The last of the more than 60,000 Confederate veterans who came home to Alabama after the Civil War died generations ago, yet residents are still paying a tax that supported the neediest among them." (via Ned Sublette)


  1. I find it odd that Rep. Holmes is upset that the park is still being funded by a tax that was set in place for Civil War veterans, yet he doesn’t seem to mind the fact that the tax itself still exists…

    I see no issue with the park receiving money from this tax. But I see an issue with the tax still existing. And since the odds of it going away are probably slim to none then the money should be shared among all the historical sites. That might mean that this park receives a little less or some other program takes a hit. But it shouldn’t mean that this park, which is honoring people who fought in our Civil War, should have it’s own tax taken away from it because people are uncomfortable with history.

  2. Why are Canadians still paying income tax? This tax was introduced in 1917 solely as a temporary measure to fund World War I. It’s over. We won.

  3. What’s the problem here? Way back when, a tax was laid. Like any tax, it could be repealed the very moment that the Alabama lege decides it should be. The particular pot of money that those revenues go to can be (and has been) legally changed just as easily, even if the anachronistic name stays the same.

    Here’s the more interesting part of the article:

    “Broadly speaking, almost all taxes have their start in a war of some sort,” said Joseph J. Thorndike, director of a tax history project at Tax Analysts, a nonprofit organization that studies taxation.

    Well, that used to be true, anyway.

  4. …actually, I suppose it probably is still true. What I meant to say is that anymore wars don’t seem like a sufficiently good reason to raise taxes. I’m an anti-war crank, not an anti-tax crank.

  5. This is what happens when an administrative system discourages the asking of questions.
    Evil spreads out of sight.

  6. Liquor is currently taxed in PA to the tune of 18% to pay for cleanup of the 1936 Johnstown Flood.

  7. bcsizemo: The park doesn’t honor people who fought in the Civil War. It honors people who fought on one side of the Civil War, the side that wanted to keep Rep. Holmes’ ancestors in chains. I don’t think “uncomfortable with its history” even begins to express the way an ethical person should feel about a Confederate memorial being disproportionately funded. And I’d question the sanity of any African American politician in Alabama who didn’t make noise about this. I agree with you: spread the money around. (Keep in mind the other cuts the state has made or tried to make: successfully defunding Alabama Public Television, trying to cut funding for parks all over the state, including memorials to civil rights era leaders and accomplishments.)

  8. I wish I could hold a crystal ball up to the rural white guy with a confederate flag in his yard and show him what his life would be like if slavery still existed. That he would not be sipping mint juleps on the porch of a plantation house, but instead competing in the job market against laborers who work for FREE.

    That said, Civil War reverence is just the local flavor of a national epidemic: Yearning for an imagined lost age of former glory.

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