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The Tentacle


March 9, 2004

Making A List And Checking It Twice

Bethany Stevenson

Well, it's that time of the year again. Everyone is talking about it. The mailbox is blooming with tax documents and the CPA's have disappeared from the social scene. Yes, it's Tax Time.

Taxes should be a four-letter word. Being a small business owner, tax time has special meaning for me. All that paper work I have procrastinated from the past 12 months is now piled next to my computer, screaming at me to sort through it and get it out of view. And I only have a month left to get it done.

But I would rather do laundry, even clean the toilet bowl, than do taxes. Sorting through all the receipts is quite depressing. After totaling all my accounts receivable (a.k.a. PAYCHECKS!!!) and doing a whoopee dance to see that I earned more than the year before, I start subtracting my living and business expenses.

Our heating oil for the past year was just phenomenal. The per gallon price fluctuated all the way to $1.77. Was it the exceptionally cold winter and extra snow that caused the price increase, or was it availability of oil due to the war, or was it simply that certain environmentalists won't allow drilling within the United States? I don't know, but I see dollar bills flying out my window, and I'm not happy about it.

Then someone in our house keeps using electricity. Did you know you have to pay every time someone leaves a light on in a room where no one is?

Exasperating. I would love to blame the kids, but they aren't the only culprits. The kilowatts add up though, and before we know it we have an electric bill that staggers the eye and boggles the mind. Where did all that electricity go?

Fortunately for me these are business expenses that are deductible. But by the time I have added all our expenses together, I have no money left from income and the taxman wants his share.

Ironic though it is, tax time coincides very nicely with the session in our State House. To all who represent us in government: I HATE TAXES!!!!!

PS: I am not the only one.

I sit here at my computer books wondering where all the money from our household has gone, and yet, I see the millions of dollars allocated to our government, and I wonder, again, where has all the money gone.

It is easy to see that, yes, there are a certain number of dollars that are required to run the basic budget of a government, but I am certain that, like my household and business budgets, there are many places where unnecessary expenditures can and should be eliminated.

I am constantly shocked by areas where our government chooses to spend money. For instance, the City of Frederick's choice to spend so much money to create the workout gym at the Rec Center. That money should have been put to better use. There are many gyms in the city that people can go to; there was not a "need."

Another instance is the money allocated to make life comfortable for inmates in prison. Inmates do not need televisions to vegetate in front of, nor do they need the expensive sports equipment provided them. If they are bored they should think about why they are in prison in the first place or be put to work to earn their keep.

Advice to the legislators: tighten up those purse strings. Be accountable for the budgetary concessions you approve. I am checking my budget because of the taxes I have to pay, so please, check your budget and make sure the expenses really are necessary.

Remember the adage: "The way to a man's heart is through his stomach?" How about: "The way to stay a legislator is not through my purse."



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