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By JULIE E. GREENE | | April 14, 2013
Even some people who don't normally procrastinate on doing their taxes might need to file for an extension this year. While the official IRS tax deadline is midnight Monday night, people who are submitting paper tax forms will want to get them postmarked before 5 p.m. Monday. The U.S. Post Office will not have extended hours, closing as usual at 5 p.m. time Monday, Hagerstown Postmaster Jared Myers said. For people who still need to file their Maryland tax returns, the Maryland Comptroller's downtown Hagerstown office, at 1 S. Potomac St., will be open until 7 p.m. Monday, spokeswoman Christine Duray Feldmann said.
April 11, 2013
The price of gas in Maryland, following a tax hike in the General Assembly, is on target to increase by 4 cents in July, with a series of percentage hikes to follow, lasting through the year 2016 - not to mention a permanent tie to inflation. All told, gas likely will cost 20 more cents a gallon by the time the hikes are phased in over the next three years. It goes without saying that rural Marylanders who do the most driving will pay a higher percentage of the new tax, at least on a per-capita basis.
Lynn Little | April 4, 2013
Each year around tax time, many of us anticipate an income tax refund. A tax refund is not free money or a gift from the government. It is the return of earned income to you. Whether your tax refund is $500 or $3,500, it can mean an impact on your personal and financial well-being.  Before you spend your refund on a flat-screen TV or an iPad, get the most out of your tax refund by developing a plan. Make a commitment to enjoy part of the money. Be smart, and use the rest for practical purposes.
By HOLLY SHOK | | April 4, 2013
Although city staff in January suggested a property tax increase to make up a $1.05 million shortfall for fiscal year 2013-14, an increase was not included in the city of Hagerstown's proposed budget.  Michelle Burker, the city's director of finance, said the budget maintains the current property tax rate of 78.8 cents per $100 of assessed real estate values - a rate that has been in effect since fiscal year 2008-09. “We were able to eliminate the $1.05 million shortfall by adjusting revenue estimates and making certain expenditure reductions,” Burker said Wednesday in an email.  In January, the preliminary general fund revenue estimate was $36,867,244.
By CALEB CALHOUN | | April 3, 2013
Two representatives of the Maryland Competitiveness Coalition were critical of the state's public policies that deal with issues such as private business at a breakfast meeting Wednesday. At the same time, they praised Maryland's emphasis on such areas as education during the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Eggs and Issues breakfast at the Ramada Plaza. The chamber is a partnering organization of the coalition. Kathy Snyder, president and chief executive officer of the Maryland Chamber of Commerce, and Tom Lynch, principal of Miles & Stockbridge in Frederick, Md., partnering organizations of the coalition, spoke about the coalition to local business leaders.
By ROXANN MILLER | | April 2, 2013
Faced with a $1.4 million budget deficit, the Greencastle-Antrim School Board will vote Thursday whether to outsource support staff positions, cut athletics and extracurricular activities, or not replace four retiring teachers. With the Greencastle-Antrim School District looking for places to cut to cinch up the gaping hole in its $34 million 2013-14 budget, the administration is recommending that the board approve outsourcing support staff, which includes transportation, cafeteria, custodial and technology services.   Superintendent C. Gregory Hoover said it comes down to three options.
By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | | April 2, 2013
The West Virginia Senate unanimously passed a bill Tuesday that would provide a subsidy for the MARC commuter train service in the Eastern Panhandle. Senate Bill 103, which proposes the creation of the West Virginia Commuter Rail Access Act, passed by a 33-0 vote. State Sen. Craig Blair, R-Berkeley, was absent, according to the roll call for the bill. The legislation would provide a mechanism for the state to give CSX Transportation a tax credit for not billing the Maryland-run commuter rail service for its use of the railroad's tracks in West Virginia.
By JENNIFER FITCH | | March 27, 2013
Some properties nixed for a tax abatement program in the Waynesboro area received a reprieve Wednesday as the Washington Township (Pa.) Supervisors took steps to restore their eligibility. The supervisors have been developing a list of properties eligible for benefits in a Local Economic Revitalization Tax Abatement (LERTA) program. On March 18, they had whittled down the list, but started to restore it Wednesday. Properties such as Buchanan Lube Center, Red Run Grill and Blondie's restaurant and bar were added back onto the list.
By RICHARD F. BELISLE | | March 26, 2013
Martinsburg Mayor George Karos called it a “really tight budget” Monday night following a 20-minute City Council meeting at which the members adopted a 2013-14 budget that came in about $100,000 higher than the current year. There are no tax hikes in the new appropriation. Real estate values dropped for the sixth year in a row along with a corresponding drop in what the city collects in business and occupation taxes, Karos said. The new general fund budget is $14,025,000.
By C.J. LOVELACE | | March 26, 2013
After hearing public testimony Tuesday afternoon, the Washington County Board of Commissioners voted to amend the county's excise tax ordinance, reducing the costs on new construction of residential and nonresidential retail properties. The amendment, approved by a unanimous 5-0 vote, authorizes the excise tax on residential construction to be lowered from $3 per square feet of habitable gross square footage to $1. Costs on new nonresidential retail construction also will be lowered from $3 per square foot to $1 per square foot on the first 15,000 square feet, and $3 per square foot thereafter.
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