March 18, 2013
Various proposals at the state and federal level could raise the minimum wage as high as $10 per hour. But even at that rate, thousands of people across Maryland would still struggle to pay rent, according to a recent study. A worker living in metro Baltimore earning $10 per hour would have to work two full-time jobs to be able to pay the fair market rent for a one-bedroom apartment without expending an unreasonable portion of his or her income on housing, according to the study released last week by the National Low Income Housing Coalition . The same is true in Frederick County.
March 4, 2013
Here's a real-world reality check regarding the consequences of random, across-the-board, federal spending cuts that began on Friday. My younger daughter is a civilian employee of one of the armed services. Last week, she received her letter of notice to furlough. She was planning to do a full kitchen remodel in her home, but even though the sequester was not a fact as yet, she decided to put off her plans due to her expected loss of income when faced with a one-day-a-week furlough.
March 4, 2013
The number of renters experiencing “worst case” housing needs has increased by almost half since the beginning of the Great Recession, according to a just-released summary of a forthcoming report from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. In 2007, there were 5.9 million very low-income households that were designated as having worst-case needs, according to the summary. By 2011, 8.5 million households qualified as worst-case scenarios because their rent burdens were extreme - more than half of their income went to rent, HUD said.
February 19, 2013
"Cheat, cheat, never beat. " Remember that catchy, foreboding maxim drilled into us as kids? It's comforting to believe cheaters never win and winners never cheat. Unfortunately, there's ample evidence that cheating is rampant in almost every sphere of American life. And for every reported story of cheaters getting busted - be they professional athletes who use banned substances or those who illegally manipulate markets for profit - you can bet there's at least one case of somebody who escaped detection.
February 11, 2013
The Harford Community Action Agency is again providing the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program to people and families with low- to moderate-incomes (annual income of up to $50,000). The program is a free income tax assistance service where help with preparing and filing (paper or electronically) state and federal returns are offered; the program is also able to assist with filing prior year as well as amended returns. The program helps filers take advantage of all the tax credits for which they are eligible, whether they owe taxes.
January 29, 2013
Do the math. The tax rate on the wealthiest Marylanders keeps rising, and the left really believes that this will not trigger continued movement to tax-free states. Here is a little math exercise: Consider a wealthy Marylander worth $10 million who retires with $500,000 of income a year (assuming a 5 percent return). If she chooses to stay a Maryland resident, she owes upward of $50,000 a year in state taxes. Now, she likely has a place in Florida where she lives three-to-four months a year to avoid this wonderful weather.
January 23, 2013
I read Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s column ("Obama economics: More government means more growth," June 20) with interest and disbelief. Well, not really. But his comment at the end about the "left's dangerous love affair with ever-higher taxes" brought a smile to my face. Is Mr. Ehrlich not aware that President Barack Obama followed the Republicans' call for lower taxes to fix the problems left by his predecessor? Mr. Obama cut taxes over and over again to the point that we now have the lowest tax rate seen in the United States in more than 60 years!
January 13, 2013
Congress and President Obama have set the inheritance tax trigger at $5 million and indexed it to inflation. They also indexed the alternate minimum tax to inflation. This legislation limits some of the penalty on those who have achieved wealth that they subsequently pass on to their heirs as well on those who are still in the in process of accumulating their wealth. Now that those inequities have been addressed. It's time to eliminate the inequity our government has fostered upon the majority of retired Social Security recipients.
January 7, 2013
How's this for an easy, painless way to solve the Social Security "problem?" We reduce the Social Security deduction to 5 percent - or even 4 percent or 3 percent but deduct it from all of everyone's income. After all, it is deducted from 100 percent of my income, and of most people's income, so why not from everyone's income? If it were reduced to 4 percent instead of the present 6.2 percent, most people would have more money in their paychecks. Deductions would not start to get higher than you are already paying now until you reached an income of around $250,000 - rich people who could easily afford it. Everyone else with incomes under $250,000 would pay less and have extra money in their paychecks to spend and stimulate the economy.
January 1, 2013
The first winter after Danielle Smith bought her house in North Baltimore, the 35-year-old schoolteacher wondered if it even had a furnace, it was so cold and drafty. Now, with almost all new windows and several other energy-efficiency retrofits, Smith said, her four-bedroom single-story home in the mid-Govans neighborhood is cozier, less costly to heat — and apparently healthier for her 8-year-old son, Akil. "You can feel the difference," she said, as her son played on the carpeted living room floor at her feet.