The economy, after further review
“Right now it looks like I was too conservative in my prediction. (HCN, Readers Respond, January 2012) We are internally adjusting our expectation higher. Hail and windstorm activity has certainly had a positive influence. Housing starts in DFW, Austin, San Antonio and Houston have reached double-digit increases over last year, but construction does appear to be starting to back off a little and level off. Overall, we now believe Texas may achieve an 8% to 10% rise due to the increase in multi-family construction, about three to five points higher than I originally thought. Nationally things appear to be better due to the tremendous rise in multi-family construction, not all of which is true demand-based. There is a very favorable investment climate right now to build and sell rental property.
“An economic service I trust and follow predicts 10% to 12% gains annually, but I still see things more in the +6% to +8% range. All of this is without federal stimulus. If the Feds stimulate, we will do better — for a while.”
— Byron Potter
Vice-chairman & CEO
Dallas Wholesale Builders Supply, Inc.
The future of the penny at POS
“Like the horse-drawn carriages, Dodo birds and lots of other bygone things, the penny has outlived its usefulness and reason for being. It’s about time to eliminate it!”
— Paul Siegel
“[Banning the penny is] not a good idea. The larger the increment, the larger the cost. At retail, sales tax payments, income tax payments all would round up so the end consumer pays the price.
“It’s like the 3.99.9 cost on gasoline. Leave the 10th of a cent there; or in the transaction sense, leave the pennies there.”
— Charles “Chaz” Mott
“My father received a personal citation from President Franklin Roosevelt for his idea to mint pennies out of zinc, instead of copper; thus diverting the copper to ammunition for our troops. Bus and streetcar drivers hated those zinc pennies, as riders often mistook them for dimes and they jammed the fare boxes. Several weeks after my father passed away, I received a letter from a former infantryman from WWII who read of my dad’s passing, who wanted to thank my father for probably saving his life. It seems that infantryman was saved by the fact his foe ran out of ammo, and he still had about 150 shells left to fight on. No one can be sure, but I thought about your articles on the passing of the penny and it’s meaning to my family and that soldier.”
— William A. Keller,
Keller Mfg. Co. dba Gardex,
Taxes and the Internet
“We are both a storefront retailer and an e-tailer. Several years ago, Kansas (where we are located) passed a streamlined sales tax that was supposed to simplify the sales tax so that Internet sellers could easily collect sales taxes. I can tell you that the simplified tax based on shipped-to-location is absolutely impossible to work with. We have very few Internet purchases made where the buyer lives in Kansas, so we don’t want to spend thousands of dollars to buy a program to figure the sales tax due on those Kansas sales. The four to five Kansas sales we do have adds about 45 minutes to an hour of time to look up the rate on the computer every month. I do not have a good solution to the sales tax mess, but I understand how it hurts my store when another retailer can offer the exact same goods I’m offering without the Kansas sales tax, because they don’t have a Kansas location.
“I understand that, because I sell the same goods in their state without collecting their state sales tax. I hope we can come up with a solution that keeps both of my operations in business.”
— Gary Fry
“No one wants to pay more taxes. But, in this case it’s not more — it’s the fair and right way to level the playing field. I have a brick-and-mortar store, and the Internet is stealing my customers with the lure of ‘no tax and free shipping.’
“What is this? If there is no tax for one, then no tax for all.
“I can compete with anyone, but no tax is not an option. Make it right. Make it fair for all retailers.”
— David Wood
Owner, Smitty’s Lawn & Garden Equipment