Free money

December 13, 2007 at 10:18 pm (Money)

I got my “kicker” the other day….58 bucks. The kicker, as it is unfortunately called, is a unique Oregon requirement that the government return the difference to taxpayers, when tax revenues exceed projections by over 2%. It is actually a pretty reasonable thing for government to have to do, especially when you ignore the fact that it cost the state 23 million dollars to print and mail the checks. It is a Republican’s nocturnal emission so I hate loving it, but 58 bucks is a lot of money to me. I can’t wait until December 27: while sitting on my parent’s couch, my pay rate will go up by 60 percent. Yeah. My friend got almost 500…guess that’s what I get for being an underemployed grad student in 2006.

I also got a notice recently of some class action settlement involving overcharging for international credit card/ATM transactions. I spent approximately 130 days abroad since 1996, when Visa et al began scamming their customers (oh wait, they admitted no wrongdoing. They just set aside a few billion “to avoid the expense of a lawsuit.”). The guidelines give you a few options: itemize every transaction and get an audited refund, go for the $25 “quick return” (recommended if you spent less than a week overseas), or the middle option: estimate time and purpose of your trips and get an refund based on some algorithm of normal expenditures, which is in turn based on some State Department computer model. I am opting for this method.

The problem is the estimation parameters are way too vague. They give you 4 options: you spent time overseas for: leisure, business, visiting relatives, other. You did this: frequently, sometimes, occasionally, rarely. Well, I went to Costa Rica for 10 days, which was clearly leisure, but the balance was when I lived in Australia. Is that “other?” I have no idea which category that fits into. But since I don’t feel that I am actually entitled to one penny from this class action, I am going to roll the dice and seen how much I can milk it. Does anyone have any advice?

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Things

November 29, 2007 at 11:02 pm (Money)

I got the job I have been pining over for the past 11.87 months. It took the better part of a year, but I will finally be performing job functions and receiving compensation commensurate to my interests and qualifications. Yay me. I am starting to compile a list of Things I want to buy once January 17 arrives, and I get my first paycheck at my new salary. I actually start working December 27, but since I had a previously scheduled vacation, I won’t actually report to work until Jan. 2. A New Year, indeed. And what better way to make a splash at a new new job than by taking a few days off?

Item number one on my list of Things is a new set of brakes for my bike. I ride my bike nearly every day, unless it is REALLY raining, which despite our reputation out here, isn’t that often. You know how a cable is usually comprised of many small wires wound up together? (like how the Golden Gate Bridge is suspended by one 2 cables, each made of 128 cables, each made of 128 smaller cables?) Well my rear brake is functioning by ONE of those cables. If you saw the street I ride down at rush hour, you would appreciate how close to death I have been for the past month.

Item number two is a new set of headphones. The MILF who sits next to me at work lets me use her computer on Fridays when she isn’t there, (my computer almost qualifies for Antiques Roadshow) and I have extended that permission to include her headphones, which are identical to my factory-issued IPod buds. I had no idea how much mine totally suck. I guess blasting Ministry while running on a treadmill over 3 years will do that.

Item number 3 is a completely new wardrobe. I am coasting on old Christmas presents and Goodwill gems. You remember that Seinfeld joke about men and their underwear? I used to think that was a joke.

Item number 4 is I am going to start using my heater. I have actually already indulged in that luxury, and will just put the next bill on my credit card. Yeah bitchez.

Item number 5: no more Safeway brand condensed soup for lunch. In fact, my diet will improve dramatically across the board. Basically, I am just looking forward to not worrying about whether I can afford cheese when I go to the store.

Item number 6: Skiing! We already have snow! Full tank of gas, here I come!

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Bored

August 9, 2007 at 9:36 pm (Money, Portland)

I’ve been doing some farting around on the Tubes of the Global Interweb, and I found out a few things about how we here in Portland pay our loyal civil servants (pdf). If you are the director of the Water Bureau, Transportation Office, Planning Bureau, Environmental Services Bureau, Police Chief, or City Attorney, you can make as much as $172,286 per year. That’s a lot more than any elected official (Mayor: $113,818, Commissioner: $95,867). Not too bad, except for perhaps the City Attorney, who I think is getting screwed. Of course PDC, in a characteristic thumbing-of-the-nose to the citizenry, doesn’t publish their compensation plan. I bet old Brucey-Bruce makes over 200 large. Anyone know?

UPDATE: Thanks to this crazy invention known as The Google, I found out that I was wrong.  He was #1 of all city employees, at a mere $160,517.  Now I feel really bad for the City Attorney, who wasn’t even in the top 5.

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