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Columns

  • Depreciation prevents expense spikes

    The Internal Revenue Service stipulates that businesses must capitalize expenditures for big-ticket items and recover that cost over several years – a practice known as depreciation – to avoid dramatic changes in the financial statements of a business from one year to the next. Knowing when to depreciate and when to claim a special one-time expense deduction is critical for entrepreneurs.
    Capital expenditures offer businesses an opportunity to expand operations — to modernize and grow — by buying the equipment and capital they need and deducting these costs on their income tax return. This fuels economic expansion.
    Depreciation makes sense when a business makes a major capital investment that offers long-term benefits, but is purchased upfront or over the short-term. Typical candidates for depreciation include vehicles, buildings, furniture, equipment, and computer systems. Rather than frighten investors by recording the whole impact of a purchase in one financial period, where it can create a loss, a company can spread it out over many financial periods effectively matching the deduction to the period of benefit. It matters not how the loan is repaid; what matters is how long the investment is expected to provide an economic benefit.

  • Just say no to Medicaid expansion

    It’s free money! That’s the line used by actor Jimmy Fallon in a series of credit card commercials. It is also the line increasingly being used by advocates of Medicaid expansion here in New Mexico and across the nation.
    After all, who but a bunch of anti-social, uncaring, right wing conservatives could possibly turn down “free” money?

  • Let's get specific on future

    In a recent Guest View Point for the Los Alamos Monitor, my friend and fellow past councilor, Robert Gibson, made an effective case for why we should direct future diversified economic development in Los Alamos toward activities and businesses that maintain our exciting, unique and world-class community. He is exactly right on the WHY, but the ongoing challenge we have is - HOW are we going to do it? I would propose that Los Alamos County use two guiding principles for a specific path forward: 1) Build on our strengths; and 2) Create the businesses and jobs first, then let the urban village follow. Let’s consider one specific way that this concept can be readily implemented in our town.

  • Photos tell world of stories

    “A picture is worth a thousand words” tells more about human nature than you would guess. Some link the popular saying to Confucius (born 551 BC). Others trace its origin to ad man Fred Barnard in 1921. Check it out.
     Our nature also chooses the meanings of today’s photographs of Earth from space. The pair of photos confirms for each reader that his or her world view is far wiser than the views that others express.
    The sunlit photograph of Earth was taken from Apollo 17 shortly after launch on December 7, 1972. It displays what we are given to work with: Earth, its bright water and air hanging together in the black void. We also have the abilities to take such a photo.

  • How to deal with the telemarketers

    When the Do-Not-Call Implementation Act of 2003 was passed, it was supposed to herald a new era of silence – as in, no more annoying dinner-time telemarketing calls. Based on the number of unsolicited calls our household still receives nearly a decade later, however, I’d say the law has been had only mixed success.
    True, the sheer volume of calls did drop significantly after we registered our home and cell phone numbers with the Federal Trade Commission’s National Do Not Call Registry. But because so many types of organizations are exempt from the legislation and so many shady companies flout the rules, everyone I know still gets pestered relentlessly.

  • Reliving the day they dropped the bomb

    The Hiroshima bomb didn’t jolt Japan as we had hoped. Its military leaders still refused the unconditional surrender demanded by the Potsdam Proclamation.
     But it did shake the Russians. Stalin feared he had waited too long for his oft-promised invasion of Japan. If Japan surrendered before he got his troops into Manchuria, the Soviets would have no claim to Japanese spoils.
     On Aug. 8, Russia declared war on Japan and at dawn on the 9th, tanks rolled into Manchuria.
    The night before, Major Charles Sweeney and crew rolled “Bock’s Car” down the runway on Tinian and took off for Japan carrying “Fat Man.” Unlike the flight of “Enola Gay,” three nights earlier, this was not a textbook operation.

  • What about the future of LA?

    Los Alamos is an extraordinary community.  Our quality of life is among the very best in the nation.  A major component of that quality is our economic wealth, also at the top.  Why are we so fortunate?  Can future generations enjoy a similar, or better, life here?
    Los Alamos is a unique combination of world-renowned science, small town atmosphere, and beautiful natural environment.  That formula is not for everyone, but it works for most of us.  

  • Looking for who sets priorities

    There will probably be legislation on workers’ compensation next January. The interesting question is whether any controversial – and important – issues will see the light of day.
    Workers’ compensation legislation often originates from the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Council, a statutory body of six members, three representing employers and three representing workers, appointed by the governor. The council was created as part of the 1990 reform of the workers’ compensation law. Its official role is to report annually on the state of the workers’ compensation system to the governor and Legislature.

  • What healthcare reform means to you

    Much was made of the size and complexity of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act when President Obama signed it into law in 2010. But now that the Supreme Court has upheld much of the act’s constitutionality, it’s a good time to review key provisions that have already gone live and to plot out what’s expected to happen in the next two years.
    Changes already in place include:
    Children under 19 cannot be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions.
    Adult children may remain on parents’ medical plan until they turn 26.
    Lifetime insurance maximum payouts were eliminated. In addition, annual coverage limits are being phased out. Effective September 23, 2012, the annual limit increases to $2 million.

  • Love of entrepreneurs

    “The pool of hysterics” is my new home, according to an early reviewer of my column disputing President Obama’s assertion that entrepreneurs “didn’t do it” when it came to building businesses.  
    Want hysterics? From the left, try the riff on the notion that the tea party is a conspiracy created by Wall Street investment bankers. A young university teacher went on and on about this at a recent social gathering.
    On the right, there are the nuts who give Libertarians a bad name. They start with dumping the Federal Reserve and demonstrate their pro-gun positions by strapping on a pistol and strutting around town, behavior I see as rude and arrogant, however legal.