Darts and laurels

  • Posted: Saturday, May 4, 2013 12:10 a.m.

Laurels to all those who took steps to end cancer through participating in and helping to sponsor this weekend’s Relay for Life at the Rowan County Fairgrounds. Since its inception in 1985, the Relay for Life movement has grown from one lone walker in Tacoma, Wash., to a global movement that has raised more than $4 billion for cancer research and prevention. Although the fundraising may be the central purpose, the event is also a powerful catalyst for sharing camaraderie and support among those whose lives have been touched by cancer in some way — and that includes most of us. Along with bringing in monetary support, the relay gives participants a poignant opportunity to honor survivors and memorialize lost loved ones.

Dart to an unintended consequence of the government’s spending cuts — fewer audits of tax returns. Because of sequestration cuts taking $600 million from the IRS budget for the current year, nearly 100,000 employees were forced to take up to seven days of furlough without pay. During tax preparation season, that meant fewer employees available to answer questions. Now, it means fewer employees to handle audits, which had already dropped by about 5 percent last year. So why is this a “dart”? Because it will result in more tax scofflaws slipping through the cracks, meaning law-abiding taxpayers, in effect, are subsidizing those who aren’t paying their fair share. Eventually, it adds up to real money: The IRS estimates the federal government loses more than $300 billion a year through tax evasion.

Laurels and a happy 100th to Habitat for Humanity of Rowan County, which recently broke ground on its 100th house. It’s hard to imagine how many lives have been changed for the better through all those housing projects, from the recipient homeowners to the armies of volunteers who’ve helped lay foundations, erect walls, install roofing and perform countless other tasks that go into each project. While providing safe and affordable housing to deserving families, Habitat projects also boost the local economy through the use of local suppliers and skilled tradesmen. The local Habitat organization’s dedication and success reflects that of the umbrella group, which now has more than 1,500 local affiliates, more than 80 national organizations worldwide and has helped build or repair more than 600,000 houses.

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