Tuesday, November 27, 2007

2007 Tax Year Approaching

We just received our early release version of our 2007 tax software. With all of the tax changes in the state legislature, I wasn't quite sure whether the state was using the credit/flat tax system, dual system, or the traditional system for 2007. In case anyone else was wondering the state is using the dual system for the 2007 tax year. It is pretty incredible how not-beneficial the flat tax is to me.

Traditional 100 dollars of tax
Flat 2458 dollars of tax

December is pretty boring in the tax world. I'm thinking of asking my boss to lay me off for the month of December.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Wrongful Conviction Reimbursment Proposal

There is a proposal being floated to reimburse wrongfully convicted prisoners 40,000 dollars for each year they were wrongfully imprisoned, and an additional 30,000 dollars if the individual was on death row. One of the positive features that is being touted about this bill is it will avoid multi-million dollar lawsuits from those who are wrongfully convicted.

This proposal is flawed to say the least.

First -- The attempt to value the loss of reputation, time, and freedom at a mere 40,000-70,000 dollars a year is offensive. That proposal is like a restaurant, that through poor sanitation and hygiene of employees, results in a food poisoning case that kills someone trying to settle damages with a lifetime pass for free food at any of the offending restaurants.

Second -- In many cases, wrongful convictions are the result of poor or rushed police work. This type of malfeasance by law enforcement causes irreparable damage to a person. Limiting the rights to seek damages, and limiting the compensation that these people can receive is unfair to say the least.

If we are trying to set some sort of opportunity cost benchmark of what wrongfully convicted individual could have made on the outside we need to be a little more optimistic. I have a client who was let out of prison three years ago, and he has made over a 100,000 dollars a year since his release. I don't think it is too much to expect that individuals who are robbed of freedom should be compensated a little more handsomely than average, especially those who are wrongfully put on death row.

BYU - Utah: Testosterone in the Beehive State

The rivalry game was once again a great game -- until the bitter end. BYU played solid ball at the end, but it was irritating to see the Ref's make such crappy calls during such a pivotal moment in the game. (i.e. the alleged PI call, and the personal foul on the Utes that under identical circumstances a drive earlier with the Y was ignored) I'm not even arguing that the ref's were wrong -- I'm saying when a game is that tight, refs should leave the game in the hands of the players.

KSL Boards have been interesting regarding the game -- alright somewhat idiotic. Both Utah and BYU fans are bursting with emotion at each other about a game that, to the average fan, should mean little more than a few hours of entertainment on a Saturday afternoon. It is fairly incredible how emotionally invested people become in the wins and losses of a team with which they really have no stake. It is apparent that while many in the Beehive state preach charity and brotherly kindness on Sunday's those rules don't apply in Rice Eccles Stadium, LaVell Edwards Stadium or on KSL.com.

UPDATE: DesNews had the fairest assessment of what happened on Saturday. There were questionable calls, but blowing that 4th and 18 was inexcusable.

On another note, my dislike of zoobies was kindled again by BYU player Austin Collie who commented:

"When your doing what is right, on and off the field, the Lord steps in and plays a part."

The DesNews author rightly rebutted:

"Seems to me (if) the Lord cared so much about BYU winning, the cougars would beat the Utes 100-0 every year and not lose games to UCLA and Tulsa."

Good Luck to BYU in Bowls and B-Ball. The UNC game was great. They have an awesome Coach in Rose who used to coach here at Dixie (I think)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Veterans Day

I found this video on Dave Fletcher's blog. When I reflect on the sacrifices of our men and women of the Armed Forces I feel fairly undeserving of the freedom which these individuals have ensured. We are forever indebted to these individuals, and may we seek to better honor the valor and love that our soldiers have shown.

In the universal measuring stick of bravery and manhood, I am a dwarf compared to those who have taken the weight of the banner of freedom on their shoulders.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Vouchers -- Mr. Byrne Should Crawl Under a Rock

I didn't know much about this fellow during the voucher debate, but he has shown what he is made of since vouchers were shot down.

Mr. Patrick Byrne, founder and CEO of Overstock.com asserts that Utahn's who voted vouchers down are child-hating, racists. He now states that he will bank roll any candidate who can defeat Huntsman -- even a communist.

"I think that he, as a governor, he's house-sitting in the governor's mansion to the day Utah elects an actual governor. I don't care if he's communist. I wouldn't care where he was politically. If any opponent emerged, he would have my unqualified support."

I'm curious as to why this fellow was so emotionally invested in vouchers (other than his 2.7 million dollar contribution to the effort) did he see a possible monetary gain, was he beaten as a child in his public school, or as (I suspect) he is simply a jerk.

He might be a good part of the reason that vouchers were shot down, he made the debate personal and dirty rather than a valuable forum to pursue quality, innovative education reforms.

That is my last post on vouchers, I promise.

Mitt Romney Hearts Home-Schoolers

Mitt Romney suggested an idea that I found rather interesting. He suggested (I suppose in connection with Utah's voucher vote) tax credits for home school families. Although this would likely never have a viable chance of passing muster in any state legislature let alone the halls of the US Congress, it is interesting that he acknowledged that homeschooling has provided (in certain circumstances) a sound alternative to public education.

I have a 18 month-old son that my wife and I assume will have special needs for the rest of his life, and we are fully planning on keeping him home-schooled or utilizing Carson Smith special needs vouchers. In researching homeschooling my wife and I hoped we would find an ally with the local schools districts and the state board of education, but to our dismay we have discovered that the local education establishment offers little or no help for those who choose home schooling and in some cases the relationship between the education administration and home schoolers can be rather adversarial.

Although I don't believe I would ever support Romney's idea of a tax credit, I did find his acknowledgment of the sacrifice homeschooling families make refreshing. The state education establishment should take note, and find some means of offering (non-monetary) support to those who take the task of educating their children on their own shoulders.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Vouchers -- Thats All I Have To Say About That

It's over.

I hope innovative education reform innitiatives don't die with it, but at least the annoying UPS and PCE ads will stop. The UPS ads with the teacher with the annoying Utah soccer mom accent was driving me insane, and up until few weeks any time a PCE ad came on I wanted to shoot the television.