We’ve finally got a reason for celebration in April

CODA

GREG BEAN

With the exception of my birthday — which I think should be a national holiday that includes gifting yours truly— there isn’t a lot to look forward to in April. So if you just got through reading the Sunday newspapers and are suffering a case of bad-news overload like I am, here’s something to cheer you up:

National Tax Freedom Day — the day most Americans (at least those who still have jobs) will have earned enough to pay all their federal, state and local taxes for the year — will arrive next week on April 12.

Granted, the milestone will be three days later this year than it was in 2010, on account of the fact that the economy is gradually improving and the average American is earning more (and therefore paying more taxes), but thanks to federal tax cuts in the last decade, that’s better than it was in 2000, when Tax Freedom Day didn’t come until May 1.

Unless you live in New Jersey, of course, when the big day won’t come until April 29. There’s a reason people in this state are fed up with tax increases, and that’s because we’re No. 2 in the nation when it comes to individual tax burden. Only Connecticut bleeds its citizens worse than they exsanguinate us in New Jersey, and for those poor benighted souls, Tax Freedom Day won’t come until May 2. The other states in the top five gougers are Washington, where the day will arrive April 16; Maryland, where it comes April 17; and New York (surprise!), where they’ll pop the bubbly onApril 24.

This particularly rankles when you consider that in 2010, neither Citibank nor Bank of America paid a penny in corporate tax. And despite racking up over $14 billion in global profits ($5 billion of that in America), General Electric not only paid nothing in corporate taxes for the year, it will get a $3.2 billion tax credit. For them, Tax Freedom Day (and Christmas) came on Jan. 1, and this isn’t the first year GE has skated. They are such a role model, in fact, that President Obama recently designated G.E. Chief Executive Jeffrey R. Immelt his liaison to the business community and chairman of the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.

“He understands what it takes for America to compete in the global economy,” Obama said of Immelt at the time.

In other words, if you want to compete, you’ve got to rake in $14 billion in profit and avoid paying one red penny into the federal coffers. Paying tax is for noncompetitive losers. So, if you’re a noncompetitive, tax-paying loser like me, I say it’s time we start taking pride in — and even celebrating — the fact that even those of us with minimum-wage jobs contribute more to our nation’s financial wellbeing than General Electric, Citibank and Bank ofAmerica.

The only question is, what kind of celebration we should have. Will it include inflatable lawn ornaments? Yard lights? I’m thinking it probably won’t include steaks and champagne, since fewof us can afford it. Chips and generic soda pop maybe. When it gets dark, we can turn out the lights and flick our Bics, maybe sing a few Pete Seeger songs. Drop me a note if you’ve got any better ideas. We’ve got untilApril 29 to figure something out.

  

Considering the fact that taxes have put us in such a bad mood around here, it was nice to hear that in South Brunswick, the Township Council recently passed an ordinance that will allow liquor stores to open earlier on Sundays.

The restricted Sunday hours are a holdover from the state’s religion-inspired blue laws, which prohibited Sunday sales entirely for many years, until they relented enough to allow Sunday sales between noon and 5 p.m. Now, at least in South Brunswick and other communities around the state, liquor stores

will be allowed to open at 10 a.m., although they’ll still have to close at 5 p.m.

That’s good news for folks who make a habit of reading the Sunday papers before deciding what to do for the rest of the day. After spending a couple of hours with the NewYork Times last Sunday morning — wars, rumors ofwars, political warfare and that crazy pastor Terry Jones down in Florida, whose burning of the Quran led to the death of 11, including seven United Nations staffers and guards, and three days of violent and deadly riots so far in Afghanistan — I would have needed a stiff drink, if I were a drinking man.

The only question is, why they’re making those liquor stores close at 5 p.m.

  

If you’re a semi couch potato, I hope you paid attention to that recent study from Tufts Medical Center in Massachusetts and appearing in JAMAthat said people who exercise infrequently have a tripled risk of heart attack a few hours after a vigorous workout. Oh yeah, they have about that same risk a few hours after having sex.

Issa Dahabreh, M.D., a researcher and one of the study’s authors, was quick to point out that the findings don’t mean that exercise or sex are dangerous if you’re a tad sedentary, just that forewarned is forearmed, so to speak. People who exercise regularly have a much smaller risk, if any. In other words, if you’ve spent the last decade in your La-Z-Boy eating jalapeno poppers and drinking beer instead of making time with your significant other, don’t walk five miles on the treadmill the same day you’ve got big romantic plans — unless you have a death wish.

  

I don’t usually pass along things I see on theweb, but last week someone forwarded me a list of text codes for senior citizens, like the ubiquitous lol (laughing out loud), except funnier. Here are a few:

BFF (Best Friend Fell), FWIW (Forgot Where I Was), LMDO (Laughing My Dentures Out), OMMR (On My Massage Recliner), TTYL (Talk To You Louder) and my favorite, ROFLACGU (Rolling On Floor Laughing And Can’t Get Up).

That’s it for now. LOLUSCOMN (you’ll have to figure that one out for yourself).

Gregory Bean is the former executive editor of Greater Media Newspapers. You can reach him at gbean@gmnews.com.