Monday, May 07, 2007

Where's the information?

So I got a press release this morning from the Dowd Campaign, that Pat Dowd was informed Friday that he had under paid his city taxes by a couple of bucks, and he fixed that today. Apparently he missed around 70 bucks of income. I've seen enough W-2's to not be surprised. Helpful hit, for example, the city is allowed to go by reported state income on W-2’s if different (more) from reported city income. This sort of thing happens surprisingly often, one of the reasons why I think you should always try to get your taxes done somewhere, and ask what’s going on while they are being done. Of course, the first question you should ask is how experienced the person doing your taxes is, and hold out for at least a couple of years of doing taxes. But since single people with incomes under $25,000 can have taxes done for free at a VITA site (and couples or families with incomes under I think 37,000), there’s *little* excuse for not having them done. If you think you owe money (which can include every person who is single, childless, and not taking classes or with a student loan), do them early so you get your payment together by April 15th (yes, you can file in January and wait to pay till April).

I think this is supposed to remind us that Councilman Bodack has not released his finances yet. Or more specifically, the City Clerk has not completed doing so. Not that anyone was asking the Councilman to release tax information, but the city stuff still has not been *reported* as surfacing anywhere. Councilman Bodack was last reported as having asked the Clerk’s office to provide the requested information. I, for one, can see why there might be problem’s getting the information out, depended on how it has been stored. But this whole thing is an exercise in suggesting that, going forward, public records should be made more public, more accessible to the public. Not that its any one councilperson’s or clerk’s fault or that there is anything criminal going on. In fact, Len Bodack’s expense information is one of two on the council website that list totals by year and category; two of the other seven are less complete and five have nothing. It’s just that the technology exists to cheaply provide even more information to the public, so maybe we should use it to make sure there is no incentive to abuse the system.

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