Tag Archives: holiday

Comptroller Questions Easter Egg Bonuses, Other Utility District Doings

News release from state comptroller’s office:
Around Easter, some employees at the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities received Easter eggs with notes inside, informing them that they would be receiving special bonuses. Bonuses were also routinely doled out around other holidays such as Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Fourth of July – or, for some of the more favored employees – almost weekly.
The problem? The utility’s former superintendent didn’t have board approval to distribute nearly $300,000 in ratepayer money for bonuses from 2008 through 2011. And that was just one of many issues investigators from the Comptroller’s office found during a recent review of the utility’s practices.
Employees sometimes received bonuses for doing routine parts of their jobs, such as reporting water theft or scouting possible water intake sites along the river. Some employees received overtime pay even when they didn’t work extra hours. Employees also received bonuses through random drawings and marble handouts. One employee received a bonus for “adultery watch,” which apparently involved monitoring another employee during work hours.
Findings of the investigation, which were released today, document that the former superintendent also gave more than $13,000 in water adjustments – essentially, discounts on water bills and new water taps – to utility board members, employees and some customers. Nearly $4,000 of those adjustments were granted to volunteer firefighters who attended annual dinners held to foster good will between the utility and local fire departments. The rest of the adjustments were given at the former superintendent’s discretion.
The investigation also revealed that board members were overpaid more than $12,000 for attending board meetings, work sessions and “road trips.” And the former superintendent and former office manager made more than $10,000 worth of questionable credit card charges to the district, including more than $5,000 for meals for employees who were not traveling or conducting official business.
“Ratepayer money is public money, just as taxpayer money is,” Comptroller Justin P. Wilson said. “It is inexcusable for public officials to distribute or spend public money for unauthorized bonuses, water bill discounts or travel and purchases that do not serve work-related purposes. I hope the Lincoln County Board of Public Utilities will take appropriate steps to ensure that these types of abuses don’t occur in the future.”
To view the Comptroller’s report online, go to: http://comptroller.tn.gov/la/SpecialReports.asp
To view scanned images and photographs related to the investigation, go to: http://www.comptroller.tn.gov/repository/CA/2012/lcbpupictures.pdf

Fewer TN Consumers Engage in Sales Tax Holidays

By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennesseans taking advantage of the state’s sixth annual sales tax holiday this weekend say it provides needed relief in a tough economy, but state figures show that shoppers aren’t using it as much as they first did.
From Friday through Sunday, there will be no sales tax applied to purchases like clothing, school and art supplies and computers. There is a maximum price of $100 per item to be exempt. Computers are exempt up to $1,500.
“I think it’s a good idea, especially the way the economy is right now,” said Lee Cheese, who plans to shop for her 4-year-old grandson. “No children need to go back to school not properly clothed or not have the supplies that they need.”
Gov. Bill Haslam said the tax-free period was “designed with Tennessee families in mind, providing savings for families, especially as students begin to prepare for the upcoming school year.”
States started adopting the sales tax holidays in the late 1990s, and by 2001 a dozen states held them. The list shrank to eight the next year as states grappled with an economic downturn after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia hold tax holidays, according to the Federation of Tax Administrators.

Continue reading

In-state Retailers Can Sorta Act Like Amazon Aug. 5-7

News release from Department of Revenue:
NASHVILLE – The Department of Revenue is reminding Tennesseans the
sixth annual Sales Tax Holiday is scheduled for Friday, August 5 through
Sunday, August 7.
Tennessee shoppers during these three days of savings can save nearly
10 percent on tax-free clothing, school and art supplies and computer
purchases.
“The annual Sales Tax Holiday was designed with Tennessee families in
mind, providing savings for families, especially as students begin to
prepare for the upcoming school year,” Gov. Bill Haslam said. ”
The holiday begins Friday, August 5 at 12:01 a.m. and ends Sunday,
August 7 at 11:59 p.m. During the designated three-day weekend,
consumers will not pay state or local sales tax on select clothing with
a price of $100 or less per item, school and art supplies with a price
of $100 or less per item, and computers with a price of $1,500 or less.
“As in years past, last year’s tax-free weekend was very successful,
providing Tennessee taxpayers nearly $8.6 million in tax savings” said
Revenue Commissioner Richard H. Roberts. “We are hopeful that all
Tennessee shoppers will take advantage of the tax relief provided by the
2011 Sales Tax Holiday.”
Please visit the Sales Tax Holiday Web site at www.tntaxholiday.com to
learn more about the items exempt from sales tax. The Tennessee
Department of Revenue also assists consumers via e-mail,
Salestax.Holiday@TN.gov, and through its toll-free statewide telephone
hot line, (800) 342-1003. Staff is available to answer questions Monday
through Friday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Central Time. (Out-of-state and
Nashville-area callers, please dial (615) 253-0600.)
Examples of exempt items include:
Clothing: Shirts, dresses, pants, coats, gloves and mittens,
hats and caps, hosiery, neckties, belts, sneakers, shoes, uniforms
whether athletic or non-athletic and scarves
School Supplies: Binders, book bags, calculators, tape,
chalk, crayons, erasers, folders, glue, pens, pencils, lunch boxes,
notebooks, paper, rulers and scissors
·
Art Supplies: Clay and glazes; acrylic, tempera and oil
paints; paintbrushes for artwork; sketch and drawing pads; and
watercolors
·
Computers: Central processing unit (CPU), along with various
other components including monitor, keyboard, mouse, cables to connect
components and preloaded software (Note: While the CPU may be purchased
separately, other items must be part of a bundled computer package in
order to be eligible.) iPads and other tablet computers are eligible for
tax exemption, while video games and consoles are not.