Thursday, February 23, 2006

Paying the Price

Let’s say you’ve had a bad day at work.

Perhaps the boss fired you for a simple mistake—or, even worse, for someone else’s. Then some jackass cut you off on the way home. You spilled coffee all over your pants, burning your beanbag and putting intimacy out of the question for the next six months.

Picture yourself arriving home, only to find that your pad’s been broken into. Maybe your checkbook and credit cards have been stolen. Or, even worse, some sick bastard commandeered your iPod, deleted your kick-ass music collection, and replaced it with Kelly Clarkson, Clay Aiken, and John Denver and the Muppets.

Take all this, and more … and it’s STILL not as taxing a day as Dennis Charnetzky recently had.

The Valparaiso, Indiana man sat down to open the mail, thinking he might get the usual bill or two, postcards with pictures of missing children, and 192 unsolicited applications for Capital One credit cards.

Instead, he got a property tax bill, and it was up from last year. Just a bit. From $1500 to—get this—$8 million. That’s a lot of triple grande soy light-whip 140-degree toffee nut lattes.

For minute this guy must have thought he was not in Indiana, but in Taxachusetts.

Most homeowners would be pleased to discover that their house value has gone up. In fact, in many areas of the country, real estate has been a solid investment for most of the past decade, earning 20% or more per year. But this was ridiculous; his assessment rose from around $122,000 to $400 million. And he hadn’t even installed new marble kitchen countertops.

Local officials say an outside user probably slipped into the county’s computer system and inadvertently changed the house value. Recalculated tax rates reflected the error, so now the county’s schools and public services face severe budget shortfalls due to less-than-expected revenue.

That’s quite a tax-ident.

Just imagine getting an $8 million government bill … and then being told that you have to cough up some extra dough to ensure your garbage gets picked up. Where do you come up with that kind of money?

If I were him, I would have asked for a loan from my fellow Indiana native, Guns ‘N Roses frontman Taxl Rose. Or taken a second job.

As a taxidermist.


At February 23, 2006 7:14 AM, Blogger Curare_Z replied to my musings ...

Maybe he should move to Taximaroa?

You comment about having your “pad broken into” reminded me of our mutual friends’ story about coming home to a break in – only to find that their socks and underwear were missing. Nothing else. The alarm scared off the bad guys. The best part about it...the socks and underwear weren’t even clean.

Now that's justice.

At February 23, 2006 7:41 AM, Blogger Leah replied to my musings ...

Taxl Rose.....mouhahahahahahahahah! Too funny.

At February 23, 2006 7:43 AM, Blogger Metal Mark replied to my musings ...

My heart is still beating hard from that story. I am afraid that is what would happen to me, but hopefully it just be the normal tax strain this year.

At February 23, 2006 8:02 AM, Blogger FredCQ replied to my musings ...

Hmmm...after reading some reviews of early "leaks" of the new GNR album, we may all have to pool together some $$ for AXL.

At February 23, 2006 8:26 AM, Blogger Stacy The Peanut Queen replied to my musings ...

And just what the hell is wrong with Clay Aiken??? (JUST KIDDING! JUST KIDDING!!!)

I actually have to depend on my income tax refund to pay my property taxes. It amazes me...I pay and pay and pay....FINALLY get some money back from the government...and then I have to turn right around and give it back to them!!!


I need a drink, dammit. ;)

At February 23, 2006 9:26 AM, Blogger BrianAlt replied to my musings ...

Come on, I'd assume it was an error. It wouldn't ruin my day, it would give me something to talk about!

At February 23, 2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Meagan replied to my musings ...

Heh, you and your puns. Quite creative!

love meagan

p.s. John Denver and the Muppets are the best musical act!

At February 23, 2006 10:43 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...

But David, remember that eagerly anticipated new Guns & Roses album, The Chinese Democracy is due out SOON!*

When that album comes out "Taxl" will have plenty of extra money, I'm sure.

*"SOON!" as defined by Axl Rose, which translates to the rest of us as "sometime within the next millennium"

At February 23, 2006 11:08 AM, Blogger KC replied to my musings ...

I think I'd frame the tax bill and hang it in my home office. I could look at it and giggle to relieve the stress of the actual tax I'd need to pay.

At February 23, 2006 11:29 AM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Leah, Fred, Perplexio: I heard on the radio this morning that the "new" GNR album is due within the next couple of months, and they will be touring in Europe this spring.

I'm torn between being eager to hear them again and being scared of how they will sound. I only heard a brief snippet from one song that has leaked out and it isn't all bad, so there's hope.

Curare Z, Meagan: We loves us the puns, don't we?

Mark, Stacy, Brian, KC: They say the only sure things in life are death and taxes. This guy probably saw his bill and nealry had one cause the other!

-- david

At February 23, 2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Perplexio replied to my musings ...


But are these forecasts of the album's upcoming release that reliable?

I remember back in the fall of 2004 Chinese Democracy was supposed to be released in November of 2004. And then when that didn't happen it was suddenly scheduled for a February 05 release. And that was the last I'd heard.

But... as far as I'm concerned, the new Guns & Roses album DID come out in 2004, it was called Contraband and Guns & Roses had ditched their prima donna lead singer and replaced him with Scott Weiland and changed their name to Velvet Revolver.

I know that's not the way it really went down-- but, to me at least, Velvet Revolver is now more Guns & Roses, than the "real" Guns & Roses will ever be again.

At February 23, 2006 11:53 AM, Blogger Ben Heller replied to my musings ...

Perhaps Geffen records are billing the state of Indiana for Taxl's workaholic attitude.

Maybe Taxl's driving the garbage truck.

At February 23, 2006 12:07 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Well said, Ben. Maybe Axl is in the garbage itself; I've heard he forages there for food and sleeps there for warmth on cold nights.

Perplexio: I'm with you. I don't even know what "Guns 'N Roses" means anymore other than Axl's increasingly screechy vox. Velvet Revolver has a hell of a lot more potential, and I'm looking forward to their next release (which I hear will have more Guns influence than the debut, which was mostly Scott's material).

The only reason I have more faith now than before is that, like Fred, I heard some finished music with my own ears. Which, of course, doesn't prove anything ... but I am curious.

-- david

At February 23, 2006 12:07 PM, Blogger none - ya replied to my musings ...

Guy in a suit walks into a redneck bar. All the patrons start starring at him, b/c he obviously doesn't belong. One of the good ole boys asks him what he's doin there. He says that he's a taxidermist in town doing a special job. The boys get all riled up and say "he's here to take our money blah blah." He says "no, I stuff animals for a living." The men quiet down and one says "he's okay boys, he's one of us."

Take me home country road to the place I belong, West Virginia, Mountain momma, take me home country road. We're not in Kansas anymore toto.

At February 23, 2006 12:15 PM, Blogger Jamie Dawn replied to my musings ...

Good wordplay. This story proves that computers are of Satan. You see what one data entry screw up caused?
Whoever made that error is definitely going to hell, and so am I since I'm using the tool of the Devil to post this comment.

At February 23, 2006 12:32 PM, Blogger Jacquie replied to my musings ...

A great story, well told.
Where I live it's getting so ridiculous that most people cant afford to live where they work. (Toronto).If you consider visiting my blog don't right now,though as I have a fantastic picture of Kermit up.

At February 23, 2006 1:03 PM, Blogger siren replied to my musings ...

I strongly recommend the practice that I've always used in regards to money management. If you owe $8 million dollars on your property taxes and you have $10 in your ice cream.

At February 23, 2006 2:22 PM, Blogger Sar replied to my musings ...

Taxachusssets...Taxl Rose...Taxidermist. HAHAHA! That's just insane. I wish someone would slip in and lower mine.

Btw, David, life been a little taxing lately? I've got the cure - my place, Friday!

At February 23, 2006 3:04 PM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

I was born in indiana.
this incindet doesn't exactly enhance the hoosier cache, now does it?

At February 23, 2006 3:34 PM, Blogger BrianAlt replied to my musings ...

Bum, bam, bum, bam
Let me tell you how it will be
Bum, bam, bum, bam
There's 1 for you 19 for me!

At February 23, 2006 3:43 PM, Blogger Dirk the Feeble replied to my musings ...

Do we have time for one more tax pun? 'Cause I'm the taxman (yeah, I'm the taxman). I hope I'm using correct syntax there, commenting can be so taxing.

I used to date a girl who lived in Valparaiso. I think her property taxes was slightly less than $8,000,000.

At February 23, 2006 3:45 PM, Blogger angel, jr. replied to my musings ...

Taxachusetts! That's a keeper.

At February 23, 2006 4:55 PM, Blogger debbiecakes replied to my musings ...

Here's my lame ass pun:
Silly IndianaMan, Tax is for KIDS!

By the way, you got something against the Muppets?

At February 23, 2006 5:27 PM, Blogger :P fuzzbox replied to my musings ...

I believe the follow up to this story was that the school district had budgeted according to the erroneous tax and when it was discovered had to adjust their budget and was getting pissy with the state about having to give back the money. Seems like everyone got hosed over this governmental blunder.

At February 23, 2006 6:34 PM, Blogger An80sNut replied to my musings ...

I can see that happening. At least it is pretty easy to fight as it is usually harder to fight a public utility than the county assessor's office.

At February 23, 2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous Bruce replied to my musings ...

The way my home town is run, they'd make you pay the bill, then send you the refund 2 years later...

At February 23, 2006 10:28 PM, Blogger Pixie replied to my musings ...

Taxachusetts LOL

At February 24, 2006 11:43 AM, Blogger Manic Mom replied to my musings ...


LOL at debbiecakes and the play on TRIX... hahahaah...

You said I could make a request... I'm going to think of a good one

At February 24, 2006 12:01 PM, Blogger cube replied to my musings ...

Such bungling bureaucracy would tax anyone's patience.

At February 24, 2006 1:17 PM, Blogger jay lassiter replied to my musings ...

I need a new amulet fix. Feed the beast pleeeeeeeease!

At February 24, 2006 1:52 PM, Blogger Godwhacker replied to my musings ...

This just highlights the incompetence of government. Milton Friedman had a quote describing the four ways you can spend money.

1 Your money on yourself (best quality and price)
2 Your money on other people (best price, loose the quality)
3 Other peoples money on yourself (All quality, spare no expense)
4 Other peoples money on other people (no regard for either price or quality)

Number 4 is the system found in government.

At February 24, 2006 4:30 PM, Blogger Manic Mom replied to my musings ...

I found something I would like to request you blog about--this story
Girl Weds Dog to Ward Off 'Evil Eye'
By Associated Press
Wed Feb 22, 8:44 AM

NEW DELHI - A 7-year-old girl wed a stray dog as part of a ritual to ward off the "evil eye" on her and her family in eastern India, a news agency reported Wednesday.

Shivam Munda's upper teeth appeared before her lower teeth _ considered a bad omen by members of the Santhal ethnic group to which she belongs, the Press Trust of India said in a report from Dhanbad, a coal mining town in the eastern state of Bihar.

Kundan Munda, a coal mine worker, said his daughter married the dog only to "remove the evil eye," a superstitious belief that some misfortune could befall her and the family, and that she would be free to marry a man later.

Friends and family participated in three days of traditional ceremonies and festivities that are part of a Santhal tribal marriage, Munda said, according to the report.

At February 24, 2006 9:53 PM, Blogger The Phoenix replied to my musings ...

So I guess the school district isn't getting new band uniforms???

I hope he does straighten out the entire billing mess. Otherwise, he'd have to take a taxative to squeeze that kind of money from his arse.

At February 24, 2006 10:19 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

I love your ideas, everyone, and wish I had half the creativity that all of us hold collectively.

Godwhacker: I avoided economics, so this is new(s) to me. I like this breakdown of the ways to spend money.

Phoenix: I knew I could count on you to get to the bottom of this punditry!

Jay, Manic Mom: OK, OK ... you've goaded me into it. I'll write a new post now. I'll post as soon as I can write something up.

-- david

At February 24, 2006 10:48 PM, Blogger Zen Wizard replied to my musings ...

I would have thought,

"What--did I sleep through the tsunami, and now I've got ocean-front property??"

At February 26, 2006 4:22 PM, Blogger Mojotek replied to my musings ...

And they had already figured his property taxes into their revenue stream? Wow... beauracracy at its finest.


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