Way back when I was in college, there was only one other English-speaking math major in my cohort. He was quite a smart alec. One time, we were talking about economics, and Daniel said, “You could ask twenty economists a question, and they’d all give a different answer.” I replied, “You can say the same about mathematicians.” He added the obvious, “Yeah, but only one of them could be right.”
I tell that tale because two of today’s stories indicate some people still believe that math gives accurate results, even if the data is wrong, or the processor is using flawed logic. The third story deals with English and ever-migrating definitions that would insult the character-challenged.Read full article » No Comments »
In the surveying of land between Graham and Swain counties, a line managed to migrate, or perhaps it was ambiguously recorded. The result was a dispute worth, in some estimations, $15 million, accruing since 1943. The problem was, the county line ran through property where the TVA built three generators, and the federal government makes payments in lieu of taxes to counties where its projects remove land from the tax rolls.
Swain and Graham counties used to split the PILT’s 50-50, but in 2010, Graham filed a lawsuit demanding Swain reimburse it for funds wrongfully received. Unfortunately, Graham was basing its claims on what has since been determined to be a flawed map used by the NC Department of Revenue, which located all three generators in Graham. Following mediation, that tried to establish the county line through historical documents, it was decided that two generators were in Graham, and one in Swain. Representatives from the counties were happy to cut their losses in legal fees. The PILT per generator is estimated to be $8000 to $12,000 a month.Read full article » No Comments »
Ordinarily, ordinary people have trouble showing up for public meetings because they are either covered up in business or taking a rare break from business to spend some quality time with the family. An exception occurred Tuesday in Murphy, following an announcement of the board of commissioners’ intent to hire an outside firm to audit businesses. The firm would be paid a commission on all unpaid taxes it could discover. 150 people (no doubt an exact number) showed up to complain at the public hearing.
The whole affair sounds like an invasion of privacy. Is it an acceptable role of local government to visit a business uninvited and demand to see its books? Furthermore, with tax codes inviting as many interpretations as they do, tax payment is not an exact science.
As might be expected, this was not the issue. The problem was, many people knew they were being dishonest, but they could not afford to stay in business and pay taxes:
“I know five contractors who will lose their backhoes,” Charles Ledford said. “Tonight is going to make your future.”
Commissioner David Wood held a different opinion, stating widows on fixed incomes pay their fair share, so businessmen should, too.
[Chair] Meltz said that as the result of the vote, people shouldn’t complain when an ambulance isn’t available to go to their house.
In the end, the county voted against the measure. In support of their decision is the final paragraph in an article in the Cherokee Scout:
On average, seven out of 10 businesses they audit are in compliance, with three out of 100 businesses not paying their fair share of taxes.
An unreasonable person would conclude 27 businesses audited are over-paying their taxes. A reasonable person might ask how competent the auditing firm that made such a claim is at handling the tax code. An even more reasonable person would probably brush it off as the work of another reporter on a deadline.Read full article » 2 Comments »
Are you one of those entrepreneurs who is a little afraid of risk, in need of a support network and nurturing, maybe even a little shy on the creativity side? Well, Asheville’s got just the thing for you – an ad campaign to brand Asheville as a hot spot for entrepreneurs. It will include a kickoff festival and logo.
The “venture Asheville” logo traces the boundaries of Asheville from Google maps, suggesting both energy waves and the elevation outlines of topographical maps.
All sorts of people are unifying around the logo as a means of driving entrepreneurs to all the amenities public-private partners in Asheville offer to help with their ventures.Read full article » No Comments »