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Archive for November 19th, 2009

Does That Former DSS Employee Owe Gift Tax?

Forgive me if years of sitting in on Ways and Means Committee hearings and pouring over Tax Notes intrudes, but if some county DSS employee just got a X-month interest-free loan for $33K, there might well be tax implications.

Usually the gift tax obligation falls on the donor, but in this case it is the tax-exempt county government doing the gifting. (One assumes.) It is also common tax law practice to require some market interest rate on cash advances above $10,000 to qualify as an actual arms-length loan as opposed to a gift. At a minimum it seems to me that someone owes the tax on the imputed value of the difference between a 30, 60 or 90 day — the county is unclear on the timeframe — loan for $33K with a market interest rate and an effective interest rate of zero on the same funds “repaid” to DSS by this unnamed employee.

Such a loan would be so hard to classify, I’m not going to hazard a guess what the interest rate might be. But it seems safe to save say that the rate would be at least 6% which would put the untaxed gift at several hundred dollars in value.

The one hitch in this is the notion that the repayment served as a pre-emptive restitution of sorts in place of some sort of criminal prosecution. Were that the case, the public needs much more disclosure regarding what has transpired these past few months. Bottomline, this thing is not over.

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Serial Killer Loose in Gaston County?

Someone has to ask it.

With the revelation that two murdered women were known to each other the obvious question to ask is, do they share the same killer? I will be very interested to hear how Heather Catterton, 17, and Randi Saldana, 30, died.

And let’s not forget that we have had the Ira Yarmolenko case sitting in stasis for almost a year now, 19 months after her murder along the banks of the Catawba River in Gaston County. Should the investigation show that Catterton and Saldana were strangled as was Yarmolenko the state should clear the decks for full-scale DNA cross-referencing of the cases.

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Me, Tommy, and Rebecca

Looks like everyone is on the same page on this — except our elected leaders.

Bonuses — however defined — to City Manager Curt Walton and County Manager Harry Jones this year are just not supported by their performance. But hey, just wait until next year, when the challenges they both face only grow.

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Kissell: IQ Test for Democrats

If Rep. Larry Kissell sees a serious primary challenge it will be a clear sign that a significant portion of the district’s Dems are more interested in punishing him for his vote against the health care bill than retaining the seat in November. For that reason, I doubt it happens.

Democrats have a chance to solidify the 8th CD for Kissell for years to come. But ironically, his vote against Nancy Pelosi is turning into the same sort of raw nerve that Robin Hayes faced after he voted for free-trade agreements. The difference is Kissell seems to have offended primarily Dem party activists and officials while Hayes cooked off a more broad-based, populist set of the electorate.

I just have a hard time seeing the Democrat congressional committee in DC blessing — even tacitly — a full-on get Kissell effort. They’ll want him to be fully-funded for the fall and ready to beat back GOP attempts to take back the seat.

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November 2009
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