The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on January 28, 1996 · Page 19
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 19

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, January 28, 1996
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Page 19
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JAI THE SALI .„,,,. 96 JOURNAL BRIEFLY Allstate Insurance moves near downtown Allstate Insurance has moved from Sears at Central Mall to a new office at 200 S. Ninth, Suite A, in the Bennington State Bank building. Allstate offices that remained in Sears stores were required to move following Sears' sale of the insurance company, senior account agent Jerry Belt said. Belt has had his office in the Sears stores in Salina for 29 years. His new office will have the same hours, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 827-9421. Brand-new Xpress Lube wins service award Talk about a fast rise to the top. Xpress Lube at Central Mall was open only two months last year and won a 1995 Texaco Prestige Service Award for outstanding service. The oil-change service station scored 627 out of a possible 800 points on a secret test of its service, owner Mike Haley said. An unidentified Texaco representative brought a car in for service Nov. 21 and rated the station. The award is for Texaco's Denver district, which takes in Col. orado, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and parts of Oklahoma. The station is now competing against 19 other Prestige Service Award winners for the prize of sending a representative to the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. Ten stations will win the free trips. Best Western chain cites Salina inn quality Best Western Mid-America Inn, 1846 N. Ninth, has received the Best Western Director's Award for outstanding quality standards. The award is given to Best Western motels that score at least 950 out of 1,000 points on a cleanliness and maintenance inspection. The motels also must meet requirements for design and customer service to qualify for the award. Best Western motels are inspected twice a year and rated on a 1,000 point checklist and design evaluation to ensure that housekeeping, maintenance and aesthetic standards are met. The Mid America Inn, managed by Don Dean, has been a Best Western member since 1963. UMB net income up from 1994 to 1995 KANSAS CITY, Mo.'— UMB Financial Corp. reported $52.? Jiil- lioh of net income for 199? a 9 percent increase over the $47.8 million net income for 1994. The company's per share in- Qome increased to $2.52 a share, an'11.5 percent increase over the prior year. The gains represent a fecprd earnings level for UMB, which also posted record earnings for-the fourth quarter of 1995. The primary factors in the improved performance were an increase in net interest income and tighter control of operating costs, said UMB chairman and chief ex! ecutive officer R. Crosby Kemper. ! UMB National Bank of America I has offices in Abilene, Concordia ', and Salina. t 1 Destination From Salina From Wichita 369 370 242 491 398 300 Chicago-O'Hare 163 New York-La Guardia 320 St. Louis 232 Washington National 361 • f Pittsburgh 435 'LosAngeles ' 249 | All fares are USAir and show the cheapest I prices if tickets are bought three weeks in I advance. Fares from Kansas City to these '- cities are $40 less than \ fares from Salina. I' Destinations | are the most , I popular ones IforSalinans I flying USAir. Money CREATIVITY AT WORK / C2 HOUSING / C3 CLASSIFIED / INSIDE c At THE WATERCOOLER Assembly required Editors at Home Office Computing magazine decided to see how easy it is to put together assemble-it-yourself computer desks. Of four models tried, the simplest, by Rubbermaid, went together in 30 minutes. The drawback: The desk is small and has no drawers. The toughest'one, made by O'Sullivan, took three hours and five people to figure out because it had 69 parts and 11 kinds of screws. In between were a desk by IKEA, which took two hours, and a desk by Anthro, which came together in an hour. Windows 95 trailer to be displayed at Sam's You've heard all about it. Some of you may even use it at work or at home. But just in case you haven't seen it, Windows 95 will be on display from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at Sam's Club, 2919 Market Place. Windows magazine and Ingram-Micro, the world's largest distributor of microcomputer products, are sponsoring the "Work Smart-Play Smart" tour of a tractor-trailer outfitted with computer equipment. The trailer is open free to the public and staffed by technicians. From Staff Reports * Airfare comparison No place like home People love working at home, finds a survey made for AT&T. The survey queried 1,005 home-based business owners, and found that 80 percent feel more productive working at home. Many also reported some interesting side benefits. Sixty-one percent said they believe they're sick less often than people who work in traditional offices. One-third of the respondents said their dry cleaning and laundry bills are down. Working at home is cpmfortable, too — 79 percent said they wear casual clothes. A :f ,...., ' ... ...-.., -' v -., . ' . The Associated Press Sarah McWhlte stands In the kitchen of her boarding home In North Braddock, Pa., last month as she talks about the town. "We don't have nothing'," she said. Town in Distress Pennsylvania steel town fights for life after losing half its people and thousands of jobs By GEORGE ESPER The Associated Press N ORTH BRADDOCK, Pa. — This is the kind of town where life was once simple and just about everyone lived well. This is a town that once was as strong as the steel it produced. But this also is a town the steel industry nearly killed, a near-death experience North Braddock is still trying to overcome. Too many streets are in disarray, too many homes and businesses blighted and abandoned, the town's tax base severely eroded. Built with can-do immigrant spirit — Czech and Irish, Polish and Italian — North Braddock serves as a test of whether that can-do spirit endures. The town's people have the desire to make it a vibrant place once again. But no one knows whether they — or anyone "Most of the young people moved out The old-timers are dying off. We don't have nobody. We have vacant properties and people that just aren't here anymore." Andrew Skladany city council member — can do it; they have given up on their local government, and have put their faith in a state takeover. "We don't have nothin'," says Sarah McWhite, who operates the town's boarding home for the ill and elderly. "We need more activity. We need like a supermarket. Somebody should put somethin' here." "Take that building, make it a little mall," she says, pointing across Sixth Street to an old red brick building. Population 13,000: glory days Once, this was the Meyer & Powers Ice Cream factory, in the days when 13,000 souls lived in North Braddock, in the days when Westinghouse Electric and the U.S. Steel Duquesne Works kept the economy humming. But the ice cream plant closed, and so did the larger factories, taking with them nearly 25,000 jobs. Assessed property valuation fell from $30 million to $13 million, and the town's population dropped to 7,000. The only visible signs of economic life are the white smokestacks rising from the Edgar Thomson steel plant of USX Corp. Even that plant is operating at reduced capacity from the days when steel was king, and it cannot make up for the other losses. Robert A. Beauregard, an urban policy professor at the New School for Social Research in New York City, notes that North Braddock and other distressed towns around Pittsburgh were highly dependent on a single industry — steel — and usually a single factory. Beauregard says that in the early 1980s, the Pittsburgh region lost 700,000 jobs, and 100,000 of those were in steel. See TOWN, Page C2 T STAYING AHEAD Flat tax's simplicity belies loopholes for some 'Source: USAir Journal Graphic NEW YORK — The critic H.L. Mencken once wrote that "for every problem, there is a solution which is simple; neat and wrong." He must have had the flat tax in mind. The idea is seductive: a * tax system so easy that you can file your return — individual or business — on a postcard. It would be something like the current 1040- EZ return, for taxpayers who use the standard deduction and have mainly wages to report. By now, you've doubtlessly read and heard that the flat tax, as currently proposed, rains more riches on. the rich, socks the working poor and shows mixed re- * suits for the middle class. At the rates currently proposed (16 percent to 19 percent), the federal budget deficit goes up. As for the promise that the tax cut will grow us out of the deficit_-— well, we've heard that before. "Deja-voodoo economics," says Deputy Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers. What has been given little attention is the flat tax's effect on businesses large and JANE BRYANT QUINN The Washington Post small. Many businesses would pay much higher taxes, others would escape tax free. "The loopholes in all the proposals are large enough to drive a truck through," says tax practitioner and lecturer Vern Hoven of Missoula, Mont. For example, consider this proposed change in law: When a business makes a capital expenditure (on land, buildings or equipment), all of the cost can be deducted right away. You'd no longer write it off slowly over several years. Under that rule, you might buy a $1 million farm that nets $100,000 a year on grain. That $1 million cost — taken up- front — will shelter your income for the next 10 years. And what would you do in the llth year? "Buy another farm," Hoven says, to continue your tax-free life. Now take an accountant netting $100,000. Once he's bought a computer, he has no noticeable capital expenditures. So he can't offset his income the way the farm owner can. Result: capital-intensive businesses would probably pay little or no tax. Service businesses, by contrast, would have to pay their tax in full. That is, unless the service business had plenty of ready cash. For example, take a rich accountant who's due $400,000 from his partnership. He could buy a $400,000 rental condominium in Vail, Colo., and immediately deduct the full cost from his business income. He'd wind up with a capital asset and avoid the income tax. If he buys the condo with a mortgage, he'll have plenty of cash left over to pay his bills. Employees couldn't play games like this. But independent contractors could. Where possible, workers would restructure their jobs to become independent contractors. There are other ways businesses would restructure to reduce the tax they owed. For example, they might change the way that workers are paid. Under the flat-tax proposals, only wages are deductible, not money spent on fringe benefits. "Employer-paid health insurance would end," Hoven predicts. "Employees would be given a raise and told to buy it themselves." Some employees wouldn't or couldn't (for health reasons) — thus increasing the number of uninsured. Employer-backed retirement plans also would go into decline. Businesses would also restructure their cash flow, to maximize deductible expenses (purchases, wages) and minimize nondeductible ones (interest payments). "This could potentially erode a good portion of the tax base," says William Gale, se- nior fellow of the Brookings Institution in Washington, B.C. Some of this restructuring might be defensible; there'd be plenty of cheating, too. IRS auditors would be hard pressed to catch the cheaters because they'd be getting so much less information on income tax returns, Hoven says. Certain businesses would pay an even higher tax than they do now. Take a company that netted $100,000 after deductible expenses and, additionally, paid out $80,000 in interest and employee benefits. The cost of benefits and interest wouldn't be deductible anymore. This company would be taxed on $100,000, even though it netted only $20,000 after paying valid costs. In trying to judge how much they'd pay under a flat tax, many business owners are looking at their taxable incomes, and applying a new, low rate. But that doesn't give you the right answer, because many of your current deductions will be wiped out. For a better guide to what the flat tax would cost (or save) a business owner, write for the Flat Tax Worksheet, free with a stamped self-addressed envelope from the California Society of Enrolled Agents, 3200 Ramos Circle, Sacramento, Calif. 95827. SU<vteESTIONS? CALL MARY JO PROCHAZKA, MONEY\£DITOR, AT (913) 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363

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