Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Downtown Parking

Dear Daytonian,

We all know that parking is plentiful in downtown Dayton with over 13,000 spaces between garages, surface lots and parking meters.  We pay in the $4 range for two hours of parking during weekdays and love that meters are free on weekends and after 6 p.m. weekdays.  Don't expect that love to follow you everywhere.

According to Parkopedia (full report at the link below), New York City leads the world in costly parking, coming in at $32.97 for two hours and $606.37 for monthly privileges.  Other U.S. cities that will cost you more than $10 for two hours are Boston, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Detroit and Los Angeles.

Maybe I'm crazy, but having a car payment and a monthly parking bill for about the same amount of money just seems wrong.

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Express Toll Lanes

Dear Daytonian,

Another traffic-related, government gotcha that you don't see anywhere around here, because our worst traffic is not that bad, are Express Toll Lanes.  They cater to the well-off traveller or business person on a friendly expense account that doesn't want to wait in traffic like the rest of us.  Unlike your regular toll road, these managed lanes use variable pricing, getting more expensive as demand increases to keep those lanes flowing well while everyone else fumes as they inch along to their destination.  The rules vary from route to route, so read up at the link below to carefully plan your next driving vacation.  Or just suck it up and drive at night.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Illinois Candy Tax

Dear Daytonian,

Computers have made many improvements in daily lives, but it's also allowed governments to get very granular when it comes to choosing what products to sock you for an extra tax bite.  For example, candy in Ohio follows the same rule as other foods; no tax unless consumed on premises.  Other states, as you can read at the link below, either tax or don't tax, and some have goofy rules, but the Prairie State takes the cake (pun intended). 

Illinois defines candy as a preparation of sugar, honey, or other natural or artificial sweeteners in combination with chocolate, fruits, nuts or other ingredients or flavorings in the form of bars, drops, or pieces. Candy does not include any preparation that contains flour or requires refrigeration.  So if you purchase a Twix bar in Illinois you pay 1% in sales tax, but if buy a Snickers bar, you get jacked with a tax rate of 6.25%.  But I suppose when you're already a very highly taxed state, you have to find more revenue as stealthily as possible.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

State Tax Return Pages

Dear Daytonian,

Don't like filling out state tax returns?  Try doing it in our neighboring Hoosier state.

Back in 2016 I filled out very simple state tax returns for my stepson for both Ohio and Indiana.  Being neighboring Midwest states, how different could they be?  Night and day different.  The Ohio return consisted of four pages, two each for the IT-1040 and the Schedule of Credits, and was straight-forward.  The Indiana return totaled nine pages with two pages each for the IT-40PNR, Schedule A and Schedule H, single pages for Schedule D&E, Schedule CT-40PNR and Schedule F and had me triple-checking everything to make sure I didn't mess it up.

We even got dinged for a second stamp for proper postage.  And a couple aspirins.

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

U.D. Arena

Dear Daytonian,

You know Dayton is a big basketball city, but did you know that U. D. Arena is the largest venue in the Atlantic 10 conference?  Did you know that Trent Arena at Kettering Fairmont high-school, with its 3,650 seat capacity, is larger than two of those stadiums?  We're big fans with big stadiums.

In case getting tickets at the perpetually sold out U. D. Arena is proving a challenge, the table below can assist you in planning a road trip.  Don't worry, there will be plenty of U. D. fans to keep you company, as the Flyer Faithful travel well.

School and VenueCapacityCity, StateDistance From U.D.
University of Dayton
U. D. Arena
13,435Dayton, OH
Saint Louis University
Chaifetz Arena
10,600St. Louis, MO363 miles
George Mason University
EagleBank Arena
10,000Fairfax, VA479 miles
University of Massachusetts
William D. Mullins Memorial Center
9,493Amherst, MA779 miles
University of Rhode Island
Ryan Center
7,657Kingston, RI775 miles
Virginia Commonwealth University
E. J. Wade Arena
7,637Richmond, VA510 miles
University of Richmond
Robins Center
7,201Richmond, VA505 miles
St. Bonaventure University
Reilly Center
5,480St. Bonaventure, NY401 miles
Davidson College
John M. Belk Arena
5,295Davidson, NC440 miles
George Washington
Charles E. Smith Center
5,000Washington, D.C.473 miles
Duquesne University
A. J. Palumbo Center
4,406Pittsburgh, PA258 miles
Saint Joseph's University
Michael J. Hagan Arena
4,200Philadelphia, PA537 miles
La Salle University
Tom Gola Arena
3,400Philadelphia, PA540 miles
Fordham University
Rose Hill Gymnasium
3,200Bronx, NY641 miles

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

California Text Tax

Dear Daytonian,

Thank goodness we live in a sane state.

There seems to be no end on the creativity of other state governments to try to raise more money so they can pay for their favorite giveaway program.  This usually entails bigger taxes on business or high-income individuals, a tax on arguably bad things like cigarettes, candy, soda pop and "excess" packaging, or a very small fee spread across a very large population like the recent proposal to tax texting in California.  Fortunately this particular tax was prevented by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC), which ruled texting was an "information service" and not a "telecommunication service".  Now can somebody explain why California taxes fruit at a whopping 33 percent when it's sold in a vending machine?  Crazy.

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Paying For Gas Repairs

Dear Daytonian,

One more thing to know if your planning to leave our friendly confines for another locale is determining who is responsible for residential gas line repairs, as it varies from place to place.  We're fortunate to have a common sense approach, with everything coming from the supplier, up to and including the gas meter, being their responsibility and everything from that point forward, which is either mostly or fully inside our home, belonging to us.  But in other cities repairs for some of the outside, underground pipe must be paid for by the homeowner, and those can be expensive.  You can buy an insurance policy to cover that, but that's just one more hassle to deal with.  The link below shows all the finer details for our Vectren service, but again, it's pretty common sense.

Downtown Parking

Dear Daytonian, We all know that parking is plentiful in downtown Dayton with over 13,000 spaces between garages, surface lots and parking...