Into the 21st Century -- Finally, you can toss those No. 2 pencils you use to work your tax forms and go online instead. That's right, the Internal Revenue Service has gone digital. Depending on your income level, the IRS' upgraded Web site just might allow you to file your taxes for free. Last year, nearly 47 million e-returns were filed, and the new system aims to increase that number. The best part? When you file online, you get your refund in half the time.
No refund this year? Just do that snail mail thing on April 15, around 11:53 pm at your favorite local post office.
To check it out, go to www.irs.gov or www.firstgov.gov.
(Signature) Gathering Storm -- Now, along with threats of a disincorporation in the new city of Spokane Valley, we've got a potential attempt to turn back the strong mayor form of government in the city of Spokane. Just think -- after each ballot measure succeeds, we can have reincorporation efforts and new strong mayor proposals. With a little planning, we could chase our tails like this well into the next decade. In political science classes, we could become a classic case study -- the community that stuck itself in a whirlpool of civic stagnation for years. We'd be famous!
Seriously, though, backers of the anti-strong mayor system ballot measure (just who these people are remains a bit of a mystery) are expected to ask the city council to waive the requirement that they gather signatures and simply put it on the ballot this spring. Councilman Steve Eugster will be able to point out that when he asked the city council for the same favor, they told him to get out his clipboards and round up the volunteers. Why should it be any different for these guys?
Met-ropolis? -- Speaking of the new city of Spokane Valley, we have to agree that the name's a clunker. It's no Sea-Tac, but, as we've said before, it's a bit like naming your new dog "dog." Turns out this wasn't maybe the best time to start a new city, what with the recession and all, so here's a thought: Sell the naming rights to the highest bidder.
They've been doing just that with sports stadiums for years, so why not sell the city's name? Think of all the national publicity. And when McDonaldsville or Wal-Marton is christened, just think of all the money that could be used to fix streets or even build a downtown. Another plus: Nothing says we're open for business like a corporate logo on City Hall.
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