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Oglesby: A busy year ahead for voters

POSTED: January 3, 2012 1:00 a.m.

The New Year is here and plenty of things will happen. Let's hope they're for the best.

Locally, the July transportation SPLOST vote outcome is iffy. Many oppose another penny sales tax saying that's going to be too many extra purpose sales taxes and claim once it expires, it'll just be renewed. Could be but not necessarily so.

Methinks not passing it is being pennywise and pound foolish. We badly need the specifically named road improvement infrastructures. A huge percentage of the costs are coming from state and federal coffers, not local taxes. I don't like to pay taxes any more than the next person, but to me this is a no-brainer.

There'll be so many elections we'll think voting is all we are doing. The presidential preferential primary is March 6. The July 31 primary is for local, state, and congressional races. The necessary run-offs will follow on Aug. 21.

We won't be voting but surely keeping our eye on the presidential race. Iowa caucuses are today. The New Hampshire primary is Jan. 10 and South Carolina's on Jan. 21, leading up to Florida on Jan. 31, which well could be the bellwether state that decides the election.

Ron Paul, with no chance of being the nominee actually has a chance to win Iowa and among other candidates probably would hurt Newt Gingrich the most. The multitudes of attack ads on Gingrich are taking a toll. He needs to finish close to the top going into New Hampshire, where Mitt Romney has a large lead.

Gingrich continues to avoid running attack ads and stay positive, talking issues and proposed policies, some which at least on the surface seem wacky.

Radio stations nay not have to give equal time to opponents of their employees' talk programs until the employees actually qualify, but ethics are another story. Martha Zoller, hosting a radio daily talk show, says she will stay on the air until actually qualifying for the congressional race. That gives her a ton of publicity reflecting her views and platform.

Everybody has their own ethics. I co-hosted WDUN's Morning Talk show with Bill Maine and Joel Williams for about 15 years and another couple of years with Martha. When my son-in-law ran for the state legislature, I knew I could control what I wrote in my columns but I couldn't control what callers might say or ask, potentially leading to requests to WDUN for equal time as has Martha and her station.

It was as obvious as the nose on my face that staying on the air, even though I wasn't personally a candidate was grossly unethical, so I resigned from the show. It should be even more obvious to a host who is an announced, though not yet qualified, candidate. Different people have different ethical standards.

I'd hope either Martha would take the high road rather than choose the low road or her station would grant equal time.

Income tax season is upon us. It's time to start getting records and tax statements together even though IRS won't start accepting filed returns until mid-February. Congress dillydallied on some tax laws so it'll take time for the IRS to adjust its tax program so the various software firms can finalize theirs. This means the preparation season without extensions will be from mid-February to April 15 (March 15 for corporations). This holds for people who prepare their own taxes and those using paid preparers like me.

NOTE: I'm not accepting new clients so this isn't seeking new clients. I remain convinced our tax laws should (but won't be) simple enough everybody should be able to do their own and put me like me out of business.

Ted Oglesby is retired associate and opinion editor of The Times. His column appears biweekly on Tuesdays. You can contact him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503.



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