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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Thinking About Fees
Fees are charges made by agencies of the state to fluff their cash flow. New ones spring up like fungi in the night.
I’ve been thinking about fees. Actually I’ve been thinking about the current Illinois situation, state income taxes, politics, Questions, Inc. (my personal corporation); corporate annual reports, and eternal vigilance. Last Friday, I was doing one of the many State of Illinois forms which, as a CPA, I should be used to filing. I had gotten the form almost a month ago via snail mail. It was due by March 1st or there would be a penalty of $1 per month of lateness. I knew I could file it on-line for an extra $3.50 charge based upon last year’s filing and it would only take a couple of minutes before I logged in the necessary info and clicked ... enter/send. No Biggie... What I forgot was that I was dealing with the “broke(n)” State of Illinois. This was a huge mistake!
You see while Illinois may not be “THE” most broke(n) state in the union right now, it is certainly right up there with California, Michigan, New York, and Florida. Right now all but 4 or 5 states are in deficit situations. Illinois has roughly $118 BILLION in unpaid bills presently. Since the state is on a cash basis of accounting and the Illinois constitution requires a “balanced budget” when the cash in the treasury has run out, the Land of Lincoln doesn’t pay its bills. The “unbooked” accounts payable grow, and there is the appearance that all is well is Springfield. AU CONTRAIRE MON AMI!!!
We have known that our state is as buoyant as the S.S. Titanic since former Governor Ryan (a Republican) kept the locals happy by pushing for a lot of “member initiatives,” monies, and grants for the local communities This was basically money that Illinois didn’t have, but (what the heck...) the state legislature was only too happy to approve the spending; besides it took the pressure off of putting Ryan on trial and sending him to the clink (until after his term was up at least). Ryan is now in jail and his indicted successor, Rod Blagojevich (a Democrat), is awaiting his debut on Donald Trump’s TV show, The Apprentice.” Rod was already impeached. He will come to trial for his financial escapades in the Fall of 2010. Ah yes... Illinois politics!
Illinois has one of the lowest state income taxes in the nation. The rate hasn’t gone up since (then) Governor Ogilvie (a Republican) instituted it in the early 1970s. It is basically a flat 3%. Now with the wolves at the door, increasing the tax rates is once again under consideration. Those pushing the income tax rate increase to 5% or 5.5% (basically the Democrats) say it is only a 2% to 2.5% increase. Those opposing the tax increase (basically the Republicans) say this is a 0.666 % to 0.833% increase. Both groups are correct: it is just a matter of how you “fondle” the numbers. This is an election year so the bipartisan solution is to wait until after the election to stick it to us here. Meanwhile, there are the fees.
Fees are charges made by agencies of the state to fluff their cash flow. New ones spring up like fungi in the night. A couple of years ago, my FWC17 car license plates became “personal plates” and I got dinged for a premium fee. It wasn’t as bad as the fees levied on vanity plates (like QTPIE1), but they were an increase in revenues to the state and increase in expense for me. Fees are politically correct, or at the very least political. A few bucks here, a few bucks there, and soon you are talking real money.
When I send anything to the state, I need to mail it by certified mail with a return request green postal card. This will prove that: “yes I sent it,” and “yes, they got it.” Such precautions cost money, but are worth it. I learned this the hard way years back.
Every year those businesses incorporated in a state must update their information in the domiciles which granted their incorporation. Was there a change in President? Was there a change in Secretary? Was their a change in the directorship? Was there a change in address? Were there any changes in outstanding shares of stock? Roughly... what are the gross assets and revenues of the corporation and how much occurs in Illinois? My Questions, Inc. is a small corporation --- so I pay the minimum. The Franchise Tax is now a minimum of $25.00 and the filing fee is a flat $75.00. A decade ago these combined charges were $50.00. I learned a long time ago that when I sent anything to the state, I need to mail it by certified mail with a return request green postal card. This will prove that: “yes I sent it,” and “yes, they got it.” Such precautions cost money, but are worth it. I learned this the hard way years back.
A few years ago, I could do the filing on-line. At first there were no extra charges for this service, AND you got an emailed receipt! Last year I was dinged with a “processing charge” of $3.50 which was still cheaper than certified mail. This year I learned that THE “processing charge” was $5.00 and there was a new “super expedite” charge of another $50.00. Nothing had really changed except that I NOW had to pay $155.00 for what should have been a $100.00 filing! Next year, it’s certified snail mail.
I’m Fred Cederholm and I’ve been thinking. You should be thinking, too.
Read more: Click on our map to check taxes in your state
Copyright 2009 Questions, Inc. All rights reserved. Fred Cederholm is a CPA/CFE, a forensic accountant, and writer. He is a graduate of the University of Illinois (B.A., M.A. and M.A.S.). He can be reached at email@example.com.
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This story was published on March 1, 2010.