September 2, 2014

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Editorial
Know how taxes may affect decedent’s estate PDF Print
Saturday, August 09, 2014 8:00 PM

Q: Weren’t estate taxes eliminated in Ohio?

A: While the Ohio estate tax was repealed effective January 1, 2013, a decedent’s estate may have to pay a federal estate tax if the gross estate is more than $5.34 million dollars (“the exempt amount”).

Q: What is the tax rate for estates that exceed the exempt amount?

A: The tax rate is 40 percent. This rate also applies to generation-skipping transfer tax (when, for example, a distribution is made from a grandparent to a grandchild).

Q: Can any tax deductions be taken from the decedent’s gross estate?

A: Yes. Typical deductions include expenses associated with the decedent’s funeral and burial, debts and obligations, gifts to charities and most transfers to the surviving spouse.

Q: Should an estate file a federal estate tax return if all assets are transferred to the surviving spouse?

 
Bring back shop class PDF Print
Saturday, August 09, 2014 8:00 PM

By Josh Mandel

In high schools throughout America, shop class has been eliminated and kids are often told that the only way to be successful is to have a four-year college degree. I reject this approach and, to the contrary, believe we need to put shop class back in high schools and instill in young people a heightened sense of pride and purpose for entering careers in the skilled trades.

This important debate is illuminated by a Bureau of Labor Statistics study showing 48 percent of college graduates working in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. As you read this today, there are young people throughout America who have four-year liberal arts degrees, thousands of dollars in debt, and are serving coffee at Starbucks or working part-time at the mall.

I believe that many of these young people would have been better off with a two-year skilled trade or technical education with actual skills to secure a well-paying job and many opportunities for upward mobility.

For example, I recently visited Pioneer Pipe in Marietta and learned that last year the company paid 60 of its welders over $150,000 and two of its welders over $200,000. The owner said he has had to turn down orders because he can’t find enough skilled welders.

 
Reaffirming our American values PDF Print
Saturday, August 09, 2014 8:00 PM

Immigration and border security issues are demanding a lot of our attention as we debate the pros and cons of legal and illegal additions to America’s population.

It is easy to forget America is a nation of immigrants, and always will be. The vast majority of immigrants are good people. They come here voluntarily looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Who can blame them for that?

No one seems to have a problem with legal, documented immigrants. The problem is with the flood of uninvited, illegal immigrants. Who do you know that complains about the number of foreign children brought here via legal adoption?

There are human tragedies all over the world. Billions live in terror, without food, clean water and sanitation. The message cannot be: send us all of your unwanted people without any restrictions.

Many people are suspicious and resentful towards those who come illegally. We’d be more tolerant if it didn’t appear the illegals were coming mostly for free government money, free health care and other free benefits.

Many lower-middle-class citizens see the immigrants taking away their minimum wage jobs, leaving them to survive below the poverty level. Many of the illegals even qualify for government aid that isn’t available to current citizens. Illegal workers even send money home to their families.

 
Why gas taxes are a taboo topic PDF Print
Saturday, August 02, 2014 8:00 PM

In a 2013 report, The American Society of Civil Engineers said more than 30% of America’s major roads are in poor condition and rated one in nine of the nation’s bridges as structurally deficient.

This negligence of maintenance and repair can cause an increase in travel times, damages to vehicles and it can cause accidents that result in injuries and fatalities.

After a harsh winter, it is clear Wisconsin’s state, county and city roads and bridges took a beating. Many people wonder, will it take a major tragedy, like a disastrous bridge collapse to get action from the State Legislature.

Non-partisan polls in Wisconsin show that residents and consumers simply don’t like gas taxes and because of that, Democrats and Republicans don’t want to talk about raising fuel taxes and don’t want to debate it as a campaign issue.

With many state races uncontested, why would candidates want to poke a bee’s nest? With consumers unhappy, legislators won’t deal with infrastructure upkeep issues until they are forced to.

Several articles on the subject have appeared in newspapers and I talked to former state legislator Jim Holperin of Eagle River for his insights and perspective.

 
Rep. Jim Jordan set to visit Van Wert Co. PDF Print
Saturday, August 02, 2014 8:00 PM

A month ago, Commissioner Lichtensteiger and I were having a conversation about how to breathe new life into the Van Wert County Republican Party. It would seem that in a county leaning nearly 80% to the right, any production under the Republican banner should be generating several times the interest and attendance of those cozy lunches of recent gatherings past.

Some proposed changes we kicked around included more inclusive meeting times and venues. Lunch meetings, for example, have the effect of eliminating most working people. And since most non-union working people tend to be conservative, that’s one big chunk of potential Republicans that can’t assemble.

And if the working middle class could assemble, they might not feel comfortable doing so at a country club – not everyone likes pretensions intermingled with their politics. It would serve Republicans well to divest themselves of that image of the Party of the Wealthy anyway. Personally, I’d rather the Party meet at the Junior Fair Building in the evening.

But first and foremost, we agreed that what the Republican Party here vitally needs is a dynamic speaker or two. On that front, I had one person on my wish list – U.S. Representative Jim Jordan. The Congressman from Urbana represents the neighboring 4th District, which includes Lima.

 
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