This bill would provide an income tax refund check-off for a contribution to "We Build the Wall, Inc." Existing state law allows for taxpayers to select local non-profits like the Alabama Aging Program, Alabama Nongame Wildlife Fund, the Alabama Veterans Program, and 18 other state based organizations.
Interest in crowdfunding a border wall began last year when a GoFundMe account was set up during the government shutdown. However, there is no indication that this money can be donated to the federal government with the specific purpose of constructing a wall, and the money raised by the GoFundMe campaign was eventually refunded due to site policy violations. In January, a 501(c)4 organization was created to collect donations in place of the GoFundMe. This organization has yet to specify what they will do with the funds collected.
This bill was pre-filed by Senater Del Marsh on February 4, 2019, and it was assigned to the Governmental Affairs committee. A companion bill was pre-filed in the House by Representative Mooney on March 5. It passed out of Senate committee on March 19. One amendment was offered and adopted, specifying that if the funds donated to "We Build the Wall, Inc." were not used within three years, the funds should be returned to the State General Fund, and it was voted on and passed by the full Senate on March 21.
It passed favorably out of the House State Government committee, and now goes to the full House.
ACLU of Alabama Comment
“This is simply a political move to pander to anti-immigrant voters who won’t realize that this pop-up organization and the state of Alabama can’t donate money to fund a specific project like a border wall. Instead, this bill provides state-sanctioned racism and xenophobia that sends a message that immigrant communities in Alabama aren’t welcome. The state legislators have enough on their plates with Medicaid, education, lottery, and prison reform. They should let Congress and its rightfully elected members do their jobs in addressing federal immigration policy.”
- 3/22/2019 - Wall bill passes Senate but money can't be used to build President Trump's wall [Alabama Political Reporter]
- 3/21/2019 - Bill to allow tax refunds to go to border wall clears Alabama Senate [AL.com]
- 3/21/2019 - Senate approves bill allowing donations to border wall nonprofit [Montgomery Advertiser]
- 3/20/2019 - Alabama bill would allow taxpayers to help fund Donald Trump's border wall [Newsweek]
- 3/19/2019 - Bill to allow Alabama tax refund dollars to go to border wall advances [AL.com]