Historic renovation tax credits could expire this year, Confederate Memorial Day celebrated

Apr 25, 2016

A state tax break that some say sparked a renaissance in downtown Birmingham and elsewhere will end unless Alabama senators agree to extend the program.

A bill to extend the tax credits for seven years has stalled amid opposition from Senate leaders. Sen. Trip Pittman says that he did not anticipate any action on the legislation this year.

The three-year program, approved in 2013, gave up to $20 million in tax credits each year for historic building renovation.

Alison Howell of the Birmingham Business Alliance says the tax credits have produced "incredible results" including renovations of the historic Lyric Theatre, The Redmont Hotel and other buildings.

Senate President Pro Tem Del Marsh says he has concerns about the program's cost. Marsh says the benefits need to be evaluated.

Today is Confederate Memorial Day. Alabama and several other southern states celebrates this occasion along with Jefferson Davis’ birthday and Robert E. Lee day.

Some Alabamians oppose these holidays. State Representative Alvin Holmes attempted to have the holidays removed from the state calendar last year.

The holiday’s placement in April is significant in Confederate heritage.

Gary Carlyle is the Commander of the Alabama Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He says the holiday is meant to honor the South as a whole.

“First of all it celebrates the lives of Southern people and that includes all races by the way. I’m proud that I’m a Southerner. I’m proud of my mawmaws and pawpaws. We’re proud of our history.”

The Sons of Confederate veterans celebrated in Montgomery with speakers and a salute.

This week marks the fifth anniversary of the Tornado Outbreak in Alabama that caused billions of dollars in damage and killed more than 60 people.  In Tuscaloosa, WVUA-TV Chief Meteorologist Richard Scott’s house was destroyed an EF-4 Tornado ripped through the Druid City.

Scott says as he remembers the fifth anniversary of the tornado, his scars as well as Tuscaloosa are healing…

“And that’s an incredible thing to experience.  I’ve been here since the tornado and to see that change every day, it’s been a heartwarming experience to see that, ‘Hey people are coming back.’  We’re not going to let a tornado get us down.  We’re going to make it back out of this.”

Scott says he focused on keeping people safe while on air despite having cold chills down his spine about the fear of destruction the tornado was going to have in Tuscaloosa.