June 26, 2006 |
I'VE BEEN interviewing Rick Santorum for almost two decades now. One thing that always struck me about Rick was his willingness to speak openly about his belief in Christianity. That's why I was surprised when the senator recently sent an e-mail to me in which he bragged about his tough position on immigration and slammed Bob Casey for his soft one. As I read the e-mail, I thought, "Has Rick ever read what the Bible actually says about immigrants?" The biblical case against abortion is inferential.
June 15, 2006 |
After nearly three decades of debate, lawmakers last night finally approved landmark legislation that will deliver property tax cuts to most Pennsylvanians. Shortly before 9 o'clock, the House voted, 137-61, to pass a bill that would initially more than double the number of senior citizens eligible for property-tax rebate checks. Later, it would also help offset property-tax bills for other homeowners through revenue from slot-machine gambling. In Philadelphia, most residents would receive wage-tax relief instead, although city seniors would qualify for expanded property-tax and rent rebates.
October 11, 2005 |
Thekla Scott worked 29 years and six months as a supervisor of technicians at her local phone company, sometimes even climbing telephone poles to help her crew. Now that she's retired, all she wants is to be able to afford to stay in her Mount Airy house. But living on a fixed income while trying to keep up with rising property taxes is making it hard for Scott, and others like her, to hold on. "I try not to think about it because you get so stressed - and I want to live to be 100 years old," said Scott, 68, who has lived in her house for 25 years.
April 26, 2005 |
Congressional Democrats unveiled a legislative agenda yesterday, topped by a proposal to reduce the number of abortions through higher spending on family planning. Although they are a minority in both the House and Senate, the Democrats sense an opportunity to push their own vision at a time when President Bush and Republicans appear bogged down and divided in fights over Social Security, ethics and the judiciary. The Democratic agenda calls for expanded veterans' benefits, fiscal discipline to reduce the federal deficit, cheaper gasoline and tightening corporate tax laws.
February 20, 2005 |
As acting Gov. Richard Codey's administration scrambles to fill a $4 billion budget shortfall, officials are considering the unusual step of taxing contributions to 401(k) retirement plans. Fiscal experts say New Jersey would be the only state besides Pennsylvania to tax the popular savings plan during residents' working years, and caution that the tactic could discourage retirement savings. But Codey has few politically popular options for fixing the state's fourth straight budget deficit in as many years.
February 11, 2005 |
The business-tax changes in Gov. Rendell's proposed 2005 budget are not as business-friendly as he paints them, some state business leaders said yesterday. But the director of the commission that recommended the changes said they would eventually improve the state's business climate. "If these items were adopted today, you might not see the results for one, two, or even five years from now," said Nicholas J. Crocetti, a business-tax consultant who was the executive director of the Pennsylvania Business Tax Reform Commission.
September 1, 2004 |
Neshaminy school board members are awaiting options from their architect after voting last week to borrow up to $85 million to renovate their high school. It was a vote with a deadline in mind. On Friday, a new law, called the Homeowner Tax Relief Act, kicks in. It will require school districts to hold a referendum before levying significant tax increases. In Neshaminy, everything related to the high school is controversial, and the Aug. 24 action was no exception. The vote was 5-4, with President Rick Eccles and members Jason Bowman, Ritchie Webb and Sue Barrett voting against it. Eccles said yesterday that the board had skirted the intent of the law and done the wrong thing by denying the public the right to vote on the $85 million - an amount he believes is more than the district will need to spend.
May 6, 2004 |
The House overwhelmingly passed a temporary fix to the tax code yesterday that could save money for millions of upper-middle-class taxpayers. The measure, which passed, 333-89, with broad bipartisan support, would modify the alternative minimum tax. The AMT was designed in 1969 to prevent wealthy people from avoiding taxes, but it is not adjusted for inflation and now ensnares millions of taxpayers. "If the AMT bill is not signed into law this year, 11 million taxpayers will be hit with an average tax increase of $1,520," said House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R., Texas)
April 15, 2004 |
The third federal tax cut in three years may have padded your bank account, but the succession of tax changes has caused an unusually stressful season for tax preparers who are racing to meet tonight's deadline. "That legislation has created a thoroughly new tax environment," said Michael A. Gillen, director of tax accounting at Duane Morris L.L.P. in Philadelphia. In particular, the new law made it difficult for brokerages to determine which dividends qualify for a 15 percent rate rather than a rate potentially as high as 35 percent, Gillen said.
April 7, 2004 |
A new tax break on dividend income is creating a major headache for tax preparers and their clients. Brokerage firms and mutual-fund companies are still sorting out which dividends qualify for the low tax rate and which do not - and peppering filers with corrected Form 1099s. "Everybody has been bombarded by these," said accountant Andrew Wallace, owner of Wallace Associates, a Moorestown accounting firm. "Some of them have been corrected three times already," said Elihu Woolfson, owner of Woolfson Tax & Financial Strategies, West Conshohocken.