Bentley tax hike, income disparity in Alabama and Selma anniversary events

Mar 2, 2015

Governor Robert Bentley

Governor Robert Bentley will deliver his state of the state address tomorrow.

The big issue is will likely be a half billion dollar tax hike. Bentley announced his plan on Friday and his annual speech will be his first big opportunity to sell it to what may be a skeptical Republican majority in the state house and senate.

Four hundred million dollars of the proposed tax hike would come from raising taxes on cigarettes and new car purchases. A pack of cigarettes would go up by eighty two cents. Buying a new car would be taxed by two to four percent.

Bentley is also proposing to end corporate tax loopholes, some tax credits for insurance companies and banks. The Republican leaders of the House and Senate say legislators will look at Bentley's proposals, but there is no guarantee they will go along with them.

Five cities in Alabama rank low in a new study of income diversity.

The financial advice internet site WalletHub analyzed 350 U.S. cities for the gap between rich and poor. Tuscaloosa, Huntsville, Mobile, Birmingham, and Montgomery ranked in the lower 40%.

WalletHub spokeswoman Jill Gonzalez says Birmingham ranked near the bottom and that most residents are middle class or lower.

“55 percent of the population -- the households are bringing in less than $35,000 a year. Then 3% of households are earning more than $150,000 a year. So even the middle class there, there's not much to it. The majority is making $35,000 and below. ”

Other Alabama cities making their way onto the list included Huntsville at 145, Montgomery at 194, Tuscaloosa at 251 and Mobile at 311.

The full study can be found at

The commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches kicked off yesterday with a Unity Walk.

Selma's ministers and their congregations planned the walk, called “One Selma: Coming Home United in Faith”. Participants gathered on the Montgomery side of the Edmund Pettus Bridge at 2 PM yesterday and marched back into the city of Selma.

A fellowship dinner with Selma mayor George Evans and the city council followed the march. At the dinner, the One Selma organization unveiled a unity quilt sewn together by Selma businesses, churches, children, youth groups and participants in the original marches. Each community designed its own panel for the quilt.

Anniversary events will continue this evening with a screening of the film Selma Lord Selma at 5:30 and 7 PM at Concordia College.

Western Alabama recently experienced its fourth earthquake since November, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

The federal agency recorded a 3.1 magnitude earthquake Friday afternoon about 10 miles northwest of Eutaw, which is southwest of Tuscaloosa near the Mississippi border.

There were no reports of property damage or personal injury.

A report on the agency's website says it occurred at a depth of almost 3 miles below the Earth's surface.

Friday's seismic activity is the fourth earthquake in the area since last fall. A 3.8 magnitude movement registered Nov. 20 about 11 miles northwest of Eutaw. That was followed in nearly the same spot by a 3.4 magnitude tremor on Dec. 17. On Jan. 22, a 2.2 magnitude quake registered 10 miles south-southeast of Aliceville.