Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Around Town: Back-to-school lessons -

Wondering where your tax dollars go?

Answer: The federal government has a huge Back to School information .

The website is chock full of advice, such as “Plan healthful lunches” and “Shopping for school supplies.”

And your homework is: Compare and contrast the site with Wikipedia is the free, user-created, online encyclopedia. Cost to taxpayers: nothing. is the taxpayer funded, online, official Web portal of the United States of America. Cost to taxpayers: unknown.

Answer: See this site for incomprehensible FY2012 budget.

Speaking of taxes, the website tells us that some states “offer a sales tax holiday,” which means that certain products won't be taxed during a set period of time. This is a great opportunity to save money on back-to-school items including clothes, shoes, and supplies.... Check to see if your state participates....“

Save your time. California does not participate.

Wikipedia tells us that “A tax holiday is a temporary reduction or elimination of a tax. Programs may be referred to as tax abatements, tax subsidies, tax holidays, or tax reduction programs. Governments usually create tax holidays as incentives for business investment. Tax holidays have been granted by governments at national, sub-national, and local levels, and have included income, property, sales, VAT, and other taxes. Some tax holidays are extrastatutory concessions, where governing bodies grant reduction in tax not necessarily authorized within the law.”

Select the correct answer: (1) Shop in Arizona. (2) Shop in Arkansas (3) Shop in Mexico (4) Don't shop.

Lunches are important. The website tells us, “As you prepare to send your children back to school, remember that nutrition is an important factor in academic performance. Studies have shown that children who eat healthful, balanced breakfasts and lunches are more alert throughout the school day and earn higher grades than those who have an unhealthy diet....”

Answer: (1) Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. (2) Do they think we are stupid?

Wikipedia tells us that “the current nutrition standards being used by the National School Lunch Program and National School Breakfast program were established in 1995.... Barring future developments, the cheapest way to satisfy the nutritional standards is with something breaded and fried. For example, a corn dog plus a fruit cup and milk would meet the current meal plan requirements.”

Answer: Corn dogs make you smart.

Congratulations! You passed the test, so let’s monetize your results. We may want information to be free, but it’s expensive to develop a website. The best jobs are inside the beltway. Your third grader needs to go to to apply for work as an information technology specialist, starting at $72,907 in Minnesota and at $89,033, in Washington, D.C. Full benefits, plus chocolate milk and corn dogs.

ANITA SUSAN BRENNER is a longtime La CaƱada Flintridge resident and an attorney with Law Offices of Torres and Brenner in Pasadena. Email her at

Around Town: Back-to-school lessons - LA Canada

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