Favorite Link Friday - P.O.W. Report

Friday, December 11, 2015

Favorite Link Friday

IRS Power to Revoke Passports Signed Into Law
The passport provision is now official, as President Obama signed the 5-year infrastructure spending Bill. It adds a new section 7345 to the Internal Revenue Code. It is part of H.R. 22 – Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, the “FAST Act.” Why are passport covered in the tax code, you might ask? The title of the new section is “Revocation or Denial of Passport in Case of Certain Tax Delinquencies.” The idea goes back to 2012, when the Government Accountability Office reported on the potential for using the issuance of passports to collect taxes.

It was controversial then, but this time sailed through, slipped into the massive highway funding bill, passed here. The section on passports begins on page 1,113. The joint explanatory statement is here, beginning on page 38. The law says the State Department can revoke, deny or limit passports for anyone the IRS certifies as having a seriously delinquent tax debt in an amount in excess of $50,000. Administrative details are scant. It could mean no new passport and no renewal. It could even mean the State Department will rescind existing passports...[Read the rest here]

AMHS 2015 Fiscal Year Review and Plan for the Future

  • Earned $53.5M* in Revenue (+5% from FY14) 
  • Reduced total operating costs $5M* compared to FY14 (down to $161M, -4% from FY14) 
  • Provided 378 ship weeks of service 
  • Carried 310,000* passengers and 106,500* vehicles 
  • Made 6,478 port calls 
  • Redesigned & implemented a more user-friendly website 
  • 140,000+ followers on social media 

Governor Walker Proposes to fix Budget Deficit with Income Tax and PFD Cut

Gov. Bill Walker on Wednesday released his long-awaited proposal to fix the state’s budget deficit — a plan with new and steeper taxes, smaller budget cuts than last year’s, and a restructuring of the Alaska Permanent Fund that includes a cut in state residents’ annual dividend. The plan, released along with a preliminary budget proposal for next year, is aimed at permanently closing by 2018 a multibillion-dollar deficit that stems from a crash in the price of oil and reduced oil production. Taxes and royalties from oil have paid for the vast majority of Alaska’s government and services for decades.

“This is a work in progress,” Walker said. “This isn’t an edict, this isn’t a mandate. The main message is, we have to fix the problem. We can’t continue to survive with a $3½ billion deficit.” Legislators were quick to praise Walker for a taking a strong, if politically fraught initiative, but were critical of the details. Republicans said it didn’t make enough cuts to state government and Democrats said it asked middle-class Alaskans to make a disproportionately large sacrifice for their state. The plan asks for bigger contributions to the state treasury from most major constituencies and interest groups — from the oil industry, to fishermen, to miners, to anyone who orders a drink at a bar. [Read the rest here]

Builder Finds a 60 year old Letter for Santa in Chimney
Shaw, 24, said it was Monday on a job site in Caversham, England when he and his fellow workers came across a letter to Santa Claus as they removed a chimney during renovations. "The customer, she wanted to pull the chimney out of the room to make the room bigger," Shaw said. "We started taking it down, when two of my colleagues were cleaning up and they discovered a piece of paper that was folded up. That's when we discovered the letter."  
The note read: Dear Father Christmas, Please can you send me Rupert Annual and a drum,box of chalk, soldiers and Indians, slippers, silk tie, pencil box, any little toys you have to spare. Love,David   
"I was quite surprised," Shaw said. "It's not something you find everyday. The things he was asking for were very humble. He was asking for the things he needed in life, rather than the things he wanted. [Read the rest here]

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