Friday Catchall: Give and take — it never ends for taxes, food and APS

Tax reform, in the case of the state of Arizona, feels like it amounts to pennies. Don’t spend it all in one place! (Courier file)

Tax reform, in the case of the state of Arizona, feels like it amounts to pennies. Don’t spend it all in one place! (Courier file)

The Friday Catchall this week is about giving and taking:

• TAXES – We hate ’em and the government wants them.

Taxes support government, and when the tax reform debate in Washington, D.C., promises thousands in reduction for middle-class families, for example, you cannot help but watch with interest.

I would love to get more back come tax time (not holding my breath).

Then there’s the state component of this: Don’t expect much, as we reported Thursday.

A new law is boosting the standard exemption on state tax forms, according to Capitol Media Services. For individuals the increase is $50; couples get twice as much.

But there’s not much there, there.

Take for instance a couple making more than $155,159 a year – the state’s top tax bracket; that $100 they can exempt from their taxable income translates out to a tax cut somewhere in the neighborhood of $4.50, enough for a grande mocha frap at that fancy coffee shop.

For those earning less, you’ll see a smaller reduction.

A lot of politics exist around tax cuts, and one has to wonder where everything else we pay goes. Paycheck deductions suck up a lot of our money.

It is not that I am down on our lawmakers – nice people, most of them – and a small reduction in taxes we pay would be a start.

I think I am similar to a lot of people though: when we see frivolous bills or education still in its drought (a small increase in funding does not erase years of cuts), taking lawmakers seriously gets harder and harder.

Love ’em, hate ’em. Certainty prevails.

• FOOD DRIVE – The challenge time is here!

The holiday season contains several food drives, especially for Thanksgiving (I cannot believe it is almost November!).

This one – a 10th annual Thanksgiving food drive, by Adrenaline Salon and Skin Studio – supports the Prescott community food bank.

“We challenge everyone to match our 10 can donation,” said Mary Turner of Adrenaline. “Help make this our most successful food drive yet! All non-perishable items are appreciated.”

Drop donations off at: Adrenaline Salon, 231 N. Cortez St., Prescott. Call 928-777-8522. The deadline for all donations is Monday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m.

It may be about seeing who can donate more than anyone else; remember, though, it is ultimately about putting food on local tables.

Watch for more food drives too; every little bit helps.

• APS HIKES – The Arizona Public Service rate hike, approved by the Arizona Corporation Commission, is taking more from our checking accounts.

As reported this week and when the ACC voted in August, an immediate increase (effective Aug. 19) of $7 a month is hitting the average APS residential customer.

It does not stop there though.

Low-income customers, particularly fixed-income seniors on the E3 discount program, are seeing larger increases on their bills; APS has restructured the program (no more sliding scale, just one across-the-board discount).

I have to add that APS has increased from $35 million to $48 million what it puts into the program - with some people paying more, some paying less.

Sigh, nice timing – between the rate increase and E3 - looks like they have achieved their goal; APS’s parent corporation gave its shareholders a dividends increase this week too.

For details on the bills and E3, pick up the Business section in Sunday’s Courier.

• PICK OF THE WEEK – (Proving there’s always something good to do in the Prescott area that’s cheap or free): For something completely different … Prescott Pizza Palooza, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., downtown Prescott. Benefits Meals on Wheels. Hope to see you there (I’m judging!).