Saturday, April 23, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
Thursday, April 21, 2011
A federal subsidy program with consistently poor marks on transparency and accountability has just announced its largest ever award: a $2.1 billion loan guarantee to a German-owned solar power company.
The Solar Trust of America, the U.S.-based joint venture of two German companies, says the subsidized project will create 1,000 construction jobs and 220 permanent jobs in the desert where the new solar power plant will be built. Maybe so, but there are plenty of reasons to question the efficacy of this government job creation project -- including the fact that the key components of the plant will be built by robots.
The 2005 energy bill authorized the Department of Energy to guarantee private bank loans for "innovative energy technologies." President Obama's 2009 stimulus bill expanded the subsidies and removed the requirement that the beneficiary provide a "down payment" of sorts to cover the risk. But the program has consistently received harsh critiques from the Government Accountability Office and the DOE's inspector general.
The dollar fell against most major currencies Wednesday, hitting a 15-month low against the euro, after solid earnings from major U.S. companies and a healthier reading on the housing market fueled investors' appetite for currencies linked to higher benchmark interest rates.
Higher interest rates tend to support investor demand for a currency, since it can generate a bigger return on investments denominated in that currency. The Federal Reserve has kept its key rate near zero since December 2008, while most of the world's other central banks are raising interest rates.
The euro jumped to $1.4514 in afternoon trading Wednesday from $1.4340 late Tuesday. Earlier, the euro hit $1.4547, its highest point since January 2010.
Just keep doing what you're doing. It seems to be working so well.
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
That would not be true of any of my interactions with the Ohio Department of Taxation.
Yesterday, one of my clients received a notice that part of her tax refund would be offset from a tax assessment from 1988!
Nevermind, that my client has had refunds prior to this date that the state did not offset. But how is it that it's taken 23 years to notify my client of this issue?
Of course they note the assessment number on the notice so you can call and find out what it's actually for. But how do you dispute something from 23 freakin' years ago?
The amount is relatively small ($193.77 which is probably a $50 tax plus penalty and interest for the past 23 years ).
But this is not an exception but the rule for ODOT. The state makes assessments all the time without notice. If they do send you a notice, it often lacks any detail for what it's about. Would you pay a $50.00 bill site unseen for something you believe you've paid.
In addition, when I've responded to the state on behalf of my clients, they never respond back; even when requested. As a result, you have no idea whether they've accepted your challenge or not to just have a refund snatched up 23 years after the fact.
I personally ran into this same issue. ODJFS filed a lien on my property in 2002 for taxes not paid in 2003. I never knew about it until I needed to refinance my property when the title company picked it up. I called a guy I knew at ODJFS and he told me that he didn't see anything due to ODJFS. My quote was "well there must be something due, ODJFS filed a lien on taxes that weren't even due when they filed the lien. Clearly some clairvoyant must have seen something coming."
So when voters get to vote on supporting public unions this is the kind of bullshit that sits in their crawl. Consider it 23 years of hostility that residents of this state will be able to unleash on the public unions this November.
I'm convinced that ODOT is run by unemployed mobsters and Teamsters from the Youngstown area.
My property is probably in jeopardy now.