1. TAX DOLLARS AT WORK

    Alabama Collecting Civil War Tax

    A welcoming stone tablet and gracefully tall pine trees greet visitors to the Confederate Memorial Park in Mountain Creek, Ala., Tuesday, July 19, 2011.  More than 60,000 Confederate veterans came home to Alabama after the Civil War, and residents are still paying a tax that supported them 150 years after the fighting began. The tax now pays for Confederate Memorial Park, which is located on the same 102-acre tract where elderly veterans used to stroll. The tax once brought in millions for Confederate pensions, but lawmakers sliced up the levy and sent money elsewhere as the men and their wives died. No one has seriously challenged the continued use of the money for a memorial to the “Lost Cause,” although a long-serving black legislator wants to eliminate state funding for the park. (AP Photo/Dave Martin)

    Dave Martin / AP Photo

    Alabamans like to portray themselves as living in one of the most antitax states in the U.S.—but they’re still paying taxes for those who fought for the state’s right to secede from the nation. In 1901, the state constitution established a property tax to pay for the Alabama Confederate Soldiers’ Home, a veterans’ residence. But even after the last veteran died in 1935—and the last widows moved out four years later—the state never stopped collecting the money. The site now houses Confederate Memorial Park, which receives some $400,000 from the tax. Park director Bill Rambo dismisses complaints: “Everyone is jealous of us.”

    Read it at Associated Press