Guest Commentary

From the superintendent’s desk: Our job is to educate

Over the past several months, many questions have arisen regarding some of the changes that are taking place in the schools. Most of the questions referenced either the high school schedule or the grading practices. 

Communication and understanding tax returns

Tax season for a tax pro is a little like being the single doc in an emergency room after a 10-car pile-up on the Interstate, except that it lasts for two months. Yet another filing deadline has passed, and I have survived.  

Because the tax field is so confusing for the civilian, and because it is an everlasting source of financial danger to the same civilian, being a tax pro is a big responsibility. Above all, communication with the client is the difference between a client’s panic, or alternatively, confidence.  

My Narcan journey (or how I spent my Saturday morning)

As the parent of a child with a serious substance abuse problem, I probably should have purchased Narcan a long time ago. Narcan, or Naloxone, is an antidote to opioid overdose. If administered soon after a person has overdosed on heroin or prescription painkillers (e.g., Vicodin, Percocet, Oxycontin), Narcan can save the person’s life.

A threat to Geer Village Senior Community’s not-for-profit tax exemption status

For over 80 years, Geer has played in integral role in caring for the elderly in and around North Canaan. Geer provides a community within the town for  our employees, volunteers and the people we serve.

600,000 newspaper jobs at risk: Help stop new paper tariffs

The threat of paper tariffs has been a deep concern for our company and the entire newspaper industry since last fall, when one lone paper supplier, North Pacific Paper Company (NORPAC), sought protection from Canadian paper imports by filing a petition with the U.S. Department of Commerce.

A tariff is a tax or duty placed on foreign companies by the importing country as a way to essentially price fix and put economic and political pressure on the exporting country.

The new tax bill and the in-home office

The new tax bill has eliminated “miscellaneous deductions” as a class of itemized deductions for 2018. Because miscellaneous deductions are gone, a very large class of deductions is gone too. One member of this class is the office-in-home. And even if you don’t maintain an office, you may be interested in this commentary for illustrating how a tax lawyer thinks.  

Government algorithms and the public’s right to know

In many respects, computers have made life easier. But they have also made life quite a bit more complicated. For example, before the computer age most government documents were on paper. Today, people not only need access to government information on computer media and in computer-readable formats, they need access to the computer programs and systems government uses to make policy and other important decisions. Yale Law Professor Jack Balkin calls this “algorithmic transparency.”

Flushing truth and freedom down an Oval hole

“Captain Jack” Crawford was one of the original Black Hills Rangers. He survived many Old West adventures and was called “The Poet Scout.” This is the final stanza of his 1889 poem, “Truth”:


Truth may sparkle like diamonds,

But some men will cast it aside.

Instead they will treasure the mica,

And say to the truth, “Let her slide.”

The long, bloody road that leads to gun control

I share the frustration shown by Philip Truax  in his article,  “Revisiting the Use of the Second Amendment,” appearing in the Feb. 22 Lakeville Journal.  It is appropriate to do just that because it seems so absurd that this single sentence can be such a bar to much-needed gun control.

Oh no! Not my meals and entertainment

That’s right. The new tax bill eliminates the meals and entertainment deduction, so no more golf games, theater tickets or supping on the IRS. The new 2018 tax act has thrown out these categories of deductions.