WORTH NOTING: Tax refund hardly a windfall
It's the thought that counts, right? Hawaii lawmakers approved a tax refund last week - a move required by the state constitution after the budget has had a surplus for two consecutive years. But Aloha State residents shouldn't get too excited: Each taxpayer will get a whole $1 back, credited to their 2008 taxes, reports the Honolulu Advertiser .
The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority may be broke and powerless, but they still have YouTube! The state Supreme Court recently stripped the agency of its ability to collect taxes for roads and transit, ruling it unconstitutional, explains The Washington Post . But the NVTA is fighting back, enlisting the help of commuters to lobby legislators in Richmond to restore the agency's status. Commuters are being asked to make videos of their congested workday travels and post them on the authority's YouTube page. And no matter how aggravating the road mess, "family friendly" footage, please.
Legislators sometimes avoid launching ethics inquiries about their colleagues, fearing what goes around comes around. But Colorado state Sen. Abel Tapia (D) has no one to blame but himself if fellow legislators decide to look into contracts Tapia's engineering firm received from the state fair over the past seven years. That's because Tapia is the one asking his peers to investigate and clear the air about any potential conflicts of interest, notes The Rocky Mountain News .
Keith Russell Judd is running for the Democratic nomination for president in Idaho's May 27 primary, but don't expect to see him on the campaign trail anytime soon. The Associated Press reports Judd is serving time in a federal prison in Texas and made his way onto the ballot simply by sending in $1,000 with a notarized form - allowed by a recent change in the state's election law that eliminated the requirement to submit 3,000 signatures from Idaho citizens. Judd paid his fee with money in his prison account and used phone numbers from the Beaumont Enterprise newspaper in Texas and the Internal Revenue Service line in Ohio as campaign contacts, according to the story.