Letters to the editor Saturday (6-21-14)
Disappointed in City Council
How does one come to a mutual agreement or vote to terminate someone and they end up with a “golden parachute”? What was so egregious? It seems that we are in a meeting to talk about the budget and raising the citizens’ taxes and then the council ends up before the day is over giving the former city manager over $70,000 dollars to go away. The council may have called him a “rising star” but I would say he is a “shining star” with enough money to pick and choose what he will do next without worrying about where his next paycheck will come from for the moment. WOW!
I know we will never officially know the real story, but as a taxpayer of the city I am very disappointed that the council did not hold true to what was right to do.
— Deedee Wright
Thanks for privilege tax repeal
The N.C. Retail Merchants Association would like to thank Reps. Carl Ford and Harry Warren for their support of HB 1050, “Omnibus Tax Law Changes,” that will repeal the privilege license tax in North Carolina, effective July 2015.
The association would also like to thank Sen. Andrew Brock for his support to rein in a tax that was never envisioned to get to these levels.
Originally intended to help local governments know who was doing business in their towns and cities, in recent years this business tax has instead become a revenue source. The General Assembly has reined in an archaic tax that, in many cases, exceeded the municipality’s taxing authority by levying these taxes based on gross receipts with no regard to profit or services provided to the business.
One of the most frustrating things business owners face is uncertainty when it comes to taxes and regulation. The most blatant example of that is the local privilege license tax. Retailers, wholesalers and manufacturers have been hit with more than their share of the burden with gross-receipts-based taxes piling up around the state, in some cities paying more than $20,000 per location while other businesses remain exempt or pay minimal amounts. The privilege license tax is especially burdensome for those businesses operating in multiple towns; the “hodge-podge” of tax formulas across the state has become increasingly difficult to manage.
Retailers pay property taxes, business license fees, trash collection fees and collect the sales tax for free. However, it is not practical for one industry to bear the burden of raising additional revenue for local budgets.
The association’s 2,500 members, who employ 1 in 4 in our state, are glad to see this chapter on business license taxes come to an end and greatly appreciate the General Assembly’s efforts on this important business issue.
— Andy Ellen
Ellen is president and general counsel for the N.C. Retail Merchants Association.
IRS scam alert
Thank you for the editorial article on the IRS scam. Like Ms. Kramer, my husband and I received a call on Thursday as well. Knowing that the IRS did not usually call about audits, but sent certified letters, I too began to ask questions of the man who called. He told me his name was Jack Austin and their attorney was Steve Clark. He gave me number to call and an extension number for the attorney. I guess he got tired of me asking questions so ‘threatened’ me with legal action by the attorney.
After several minutes, I called the number, and guess what? I did not even have to dial the extension. A man’s voice very similar to the original man’s who called, on a recording said he could not come to the phone. Both men had strong accents and were hard to understand. I called the Better Business Bureau and was immediately told it was a scam. Please do not give these types of callers any information. If it is the IRS, they will already have what they need.
— Shelia Gould
Just read about the IRS phone call. I too received one yesterday. I knew it wasn’t legitimate, but I stayed on the line to try and figure out what the scam was. His name was “Jack Austin,” and he spoke very poor English and was calling from Washington, D.C. He was with the “1040 Audit Division of the IRS.” He said he was calling to discuss my upcoming court case.
I knew I owed them no money, but I just kept at him. I asked why I had not received any notice in the mail. He said it had been returned, and he then gave my correct address.
He kept saying that I had to call this number — 206-497-5911 — to stop further court action against me. I asked to speak with someone who spoke better English, then he slowed down and kept going about how I would be arrested if I didn’t call this number immediately. He did not ask for any banking info, just for me to call this number. He would not back down one bit, and actually got very intimidating as our conversation wore on. He finally started saying that the police would be at my house by 5 p.m. to arrest me as I would not cooperate. He was practically yelling at me at this point about my being arrested, and then he hung up. Even when I told him that I didn’t believe him, and what did he really want, he just kept talking about how much I owed the government, I wasn’t going to get away with it, etc.
However, I am very concerned about the elderly when you have someone as threatening as he was to me. Please continue to tell all to beware. Family members especially need to warn elderly relatives.
— Anne Goodman